SOUTH VIENNA, Clark County — An odd request from the 86-year-old man who came into the South Vienna Fuel Mart started a chain of events that led to his being identified as an endangered missing adult.
The master links in the chain were sales associate Debbie Lemmons and her two co-workers. They sensed something wasn’t quite right about the customer, who told them Akron police had given him gas money to come to Clark County and now he was asking for gas money to go back home.
“He was really confused and everything,” said Lemmons, the most senior of the three employees at store No. 764, on North Urbana Lisbon Road.
The traveler walked in about 4:30 p.m. Lemmons said, noting that her mother suffers from dementia, “so I know how it is.”
The last link in the chain was Springfield police Detective James McCutcheon, who just happened to walk in as Lemmons was trying to call police to get help for the wayward traveler. McCutcheon said he checked the license tags on the man’s pickup truck and that information confirmed his status as an endangered missing adult who suffers from dementia.
McCutcheon then contacted the county sheriff’s office, who sent Deputy Douglas Peterson as the investigating officer.
They all worked together to get the man to Springfield Regional Medical Center, where he’ll stay until his granddaughter arrives to take grandpa home.
“He seems to have gotten a little confused as to where he was at,” McCutcheon said. “He said he drove to visit a friend in Kentucky. According to him, that’s where he’s been for two days. He was on his way back and ran out of gas.”
The man’s phone was broken and he hadn’t told his family where he was going, the detective said.
McCucheon said he was on his way home and had stopped at the fuel mart when Lemmons and the two other employees flagged him down about a confused elderly man in the parking lot.
“The gas station attendants here were on the ball and paying attention and I just happened to walk in at the right time, I guess,” the detective said. “We’ll get him home tonight.”