Settlement Reached in Case Against Mental Hospital

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Lawyers say a settlement has been reached in a suit filed by the guardian of a Dardanelle woman who jumped off an overpass above Interstate 430 after escaping from a mental hospital.  Lawyers for both sides said yesterday that the Bridgeway Hospital in North Little Rock did not admit to any wrongdoing in the agreement, reached shortly before the case went to trial.

Skip Simpson of Dallas, an attorney for the guardian of Alysia Ashley, said the case typified what happens to many people who are suicidal and end up in mental hospitals.

Although Ashley did not die from her 30-foot fall in 2004, she was seriously injured when she landed next to the highway.  At age 45, she will seek residence in an assisted-living facility because of what Simpson said was the hospital's negligence.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)