Four women were in a Louisville courtroom Tuesday morning answering to charges from manslaughter to tampering with evidence and perjury. This after a resident died from falling from her wheelchair. The hearing was nothing more than a formality. It lasted less than five minutes and four not guilty pleas were entered. But it is a case of life and death after an investigation lasting more than a year.
Detective Fogle started his investigation shortly after Lois Schaefer Bright fell from her wheelchair, fracturing her head at the Four Courts Senior Center in June 2006. She died two weeks later at a hospital.
The investigation found Four Courts employee Rachael Bowerman forgot to apply the wheelchair’s brake. Bowerman faces the most serious charges of second degree manslaughter and abuse or neglect of an adult. The manslaughter charge carries a prison sentence up to 10 years.
As for the other women now charged, Gail McWhorter faces perjury, tampering with evidence and reckless abuse or neglect of an adult. Tonita Thompson and Shaconda Daniel face perjury and tampering with evidence charges.
The state alleges that, after the fall, the trio picked Ms. Bright up, put her back in her wheelchair, wheeled her into the center, and placed her in bed before paramedics arrived.
When pressed about what changes have been made at Four Courts, no one would elaborate. WAVE 3 also discovered Gail McWhorter and Tonita Thompson still work at the nursing home. A spokesperson for Four Courts would not say if the other two women were fired or if they quit. All of the women had to post a $1,000 bond Tuesday to remain free.