Investigators: Caregiver left woman with autism in 109-degree van at salon

Bridget Flynn

RACINE COUNTY — A 35-year-old Racine County woman is facing several charges after officials say she left a woman with autism inside a locked van while she had a waxing procedure done at a salon. Investigators say the temperature inside the van was 109 degrees.

Bridget Flynn of Kansasville faces the following charges:

  • Second degree recklessly endangering safety
  • False imprisonment
  • Obstructing an officer
  • Negligently abuse or neglect patient

According to a criminal complaint, on July 25, the Burlington Police Department was called to Washington Avenue near North Pine Street, for a report of a handicapped van left unattended for 30 minutes with a disabled person inside.

Upon arrival, investigators say a 26-year-old woman who is autistic, was found lying in the backseat with a “sweaty, glazed look on her face.” The vehicle doors were locked, and all the windows were up. Officials say the vehicle was parked in “full sun.”┬áIt was later determined the interior of the van was 109 degrees.

According to the criminal complaint, the woman was unable to unlock the doors or communicate with officials.

The criminal complaint states Bridget Flynn exited a nearby salon and approached the van. Flynn stated to law enforcement she was the 26-year-old woman’s caregiver; stating to officials she stopped in the salon to use the bathroom and that she was “not gone that long.”

Investigators say Flynn gave false information about the woman she was providing care for, including where she resided and her emergency contacts.

Further investigation revealed Flynn received a waxing procedure at the salon, and she was supposed to drop the woman off at Discovery World for the day, but ended up taking her to Taco Bell and Echo Park instead.

Officials say Flynn failed to advise her employer she changed the woman’s destination that day as required.

Flynn is due back in court on Sept. 5.

Meanwhile, officials with Paragon Community Services, Flynn’s former employer, issued this statement on the allegations:

“At Paragon Community Services, our staff is passionate and dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, neurological disorders, and emotional disturbances. We are shocked to learn of the situation that involved a seasoned staff member.

We are grateful to the citizen who recognized a need and called the police to investigate the unusual situation. We can confirm the client was not harmed and has been returned safely to her family and the staff member was arrested by the Burlington Police Department and terminated immediately for blatant violation of law and policy.

We remain fully cooperative with authorities and any further questions about this incident should be forwarded to Burlington Police Department at: (262) 342-1100.”