DHS director investigated over son's injuries

By Randy Ellis Modified: July 25, 2007 at 12:15 am •  Published: July 25, 2007
Advertisement
;
The director of Oklahoma's child welfare agency is under investigation because of burns his son suffered while on a family trip.

Howard Hendrick, director of the Department of Human Services, confirmed the investigation Tuesday and said he is cooperating fully with authorities. The state attorney general is investigating.

"I would love it if I had been the one burned,” Hendrick told The Oklahoman , as tears welled up in his eyes.

His son, Hudson, 13, was injured while they were burning brush at a lake house over the Fourth of July, a DHS spokeswoman said.

The investigation apparently stems from an allegation that Hendrick didn't promptly seek emergency medical treatment.

Hendrick told The Oklahoman they were in a remote area about 45 miles from the nearest hospital when the accident happened.

"I actually called immediately and talked to a doctor — within an hour of the event I talked to a doctor,” Hendrick said.

Hudson was taken to see a doctor the following morning, Hendrick said.

"He's doing well,” Hendrick said. "I think he will fully recover.”

Hendrick declined to discuss details about how the accident happened or to describe the extent of his son's injuries.

"I don't want to comment on an open investigation,” he said.

Hendrick said it's his understanding that the complaint against him was anonymous. His agency normally investigates child welfare complaints, but because the investigation involves him, it was referred to Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

Charlie Price, spokesman for Edmondson's office, said it's the attorney general's policy "not to discuss investigations we may or may not be conducting.”