Affidavit: Port Arthur nursing home director caused injury with last-minute rescue
PORT ARTHUR, Texas (KFDM) - Story by Brandon Scott and Peter Eliopoulos
The administrative director at a Port Arthur nursing home where elderly residents were seen being rescued from the flooded facility on live television is now accused of criminal negligence or recklessness for his part in injuries sustained from the incident, according to a search warrant affidavit released to KFDM/Fox 4.
Port Arthur police searched the facility at 4225 Lake Arthur Drive on Thursday afternoon, hours after a second temporary restraining order against the nursing home was granted by a district judge.
Jeff Rosetta, the administrative director at Lake Arthur Place, is targeted in both the civil and criminal investigations.
The affidavit accuses Rosetta of "failing to provide adequate care and safety of numerous elderly individuals that were in the care, custody and control" of the nursing home.
"Medical documents will show some of the individuals sustained injury as a direct result of the catastrophic flooding and the evacuation finally orchestrated at the last minute by citizens," the affidavit states.
The court documents show a timeline to indicate several days of warning that Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey could have dangerous implications.
Port Arthur PD Det. Mike Hebert was at the flooded nursing home Aug. 30, when citizens volunteered to evacuate the facility, rescuing the elderly by boat.
Hebert on Aug. 30 was able to access the the nursing home by boat and noted water was 10-12 inches deep throughout the facility. He also noted the strong odor of human feces and urine, according to the affidavit.
Some of the patients were still in their rooms. Others were in hallways lying in beds or sitting in wheelchairs. The people in wheelchairs had their lower bodies submerged by floodwaters, video from KFDM/Fox 4 shows.
But when Hebert confronted Rosetta, the director questioned the detective's credentials, despite Hebert being in full uniform, the affidavit states.
When Rosetta saw a patient being pushed by wheelchair past his office, he pushed Hebert out of the way in an attempt to prevent evacuations, according to the affidavit.
Hebert and PAPD Det. T. Cater had to physically restrain Rosetta with handcuffs to keep him from preventing the evacuations, the affidavit states.
The document goes on to say, "Rosetta's actions towards police personnel and his omission to act in the prior days leading to this event, as well as his actions on August 30, 2017 resulted in the injury of patients under the care of his facility."
Injury to the elderly by negligence is a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years in state prison if charged and convicted. Injury to the elderly by recklessness is a third degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison if charged and convicted.
Nobody had been arrested as of Thursday afternoon.
Senior Care Centers, the Lake Arthur Place parent company, has declined to comment on pending legal matters. Senior Care provided this statement last Thursday on Facebook.