Family sues Westminster school over son’s death

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- A California family is suing a Westminster school after their son was struck and killed by a drunk driver while attending the institution.

Andrew Potter’s story started and ended with tragedy. Going through foster care, his life took a turn when he was 3 years old and walked into Renee Potter’s preschool special education class.

“He was a happy, loving, sweet, highly energetic little boy,” Renee said.

She and her husband formally adopted Andrew. They learned he suffered from a traumatic brain injury at an early age.

“We just wanted to, you know, do what we could to make his life better,” Renee said.

The Potters tell the FOX31 Problem Solvers their school district in San Bernardino, California couldn’t meet Andrew’s special needs, so they say he was sent to a special school in Colorado: Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health in Westminster.

In August 2018, Potter, then 15, wandered off campus and was hit by a drunk driver when walking against the light. The driver won’t face any jail time for the crime.

One year later, the family is now suing Fontana United School District in California and Devereux for wrongful death and negligent supervision.

The lawsuit claims Devereux had prior notice of Potter’s need for constant close monitoring and supervision, that Devereux held itself out as a secured and locked facility, and their failure to provide reasonable supervision legally caused Potter’s death.

“Andrew wasn’t just a 15-year-old kid that was out past curfew at 11 o’clock that night,” Renee said. “There was many failures, many people who dropped the ball that night.”

In a statement to the Problem Solvers, Devereux’s executive director Perry May said:

“Andrew’s death was a terrible tragedy and we have been focused on supporting his family in the best ways we can, as well as helping our staff who cared deeply for him, and are all grieving his death. Throughout the course of the investigation into the drunk driver who struck Andrew, we have worked closely with local law enforcement, who have been tremendous. This was a horrible loss for everyone who loved Andrew.”

READ: The lawsuit filed in California

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