Commissioners approve $200K in teen suicide lawsuit - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Commissioners approve $200K in teen suicide lawsuit

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Hamilton County Commissioners have approved a $200,000 settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by the father of 15-year-old Austin Dakota Wallace, who hanged himself with a bed sheet while in custody at the Juvenile Detention Center in 2010.

David Wallace alleges the center was negligent and did not check on his son as they are required to by law.

According to the lawsuit, Austin Wallace was a residential patient of the Scholze Center, which is an adolescent drug treatment facility. Wallace ran away from the center on June 29, 2010, and was arrested by a Chattanooga police officer for burglarizing a car in downtown Chattanooga. 

The lawsuit goes on to say Wallace was left alone in the overflow wing of the detention center and not checked on for an hour and 20 minutes. 

Employees later found Wallace dead. The lawsuit cites Tennessee law, saying detention center employees are required to check on children every 15 minutes if children are housed in secure rooms and every 30 minutes if children are in non-secure rooms.

The lawsuit originally asked for $3.75 million in damages.

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