Several children expected to be released from hospital after deadly accident

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by Gene Kang

WHAS11.com

Posted on June 14, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 11:51 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- One person is dead after a day care van slammed in to a tree on Algonquin Parkway near Wingfield Road at around 5:11 p.m. Tuesday.

The van belonged to Heavenly Angels Childcare Center, not far from the accident scene. The van makes runs to drop children off at their homes daily.
 
Police said the driver of the Ford passenger van lost control and struck a tree head on, killing the 31-year-old Tiffany Belk, a day care employee. The coroner said Belk died from multiple blunt force injuries.

Fourteen children ranging in age from 8 months to 8-years-old were on board the van with the driver and Belk. Police said two of the children were in car seats, but nearly all of the children sustained injuries and every one on board went to the hospital.

The driver and Belk were taken to University Hospital where Belk was pronounced dead on arrival. The driver is reported to be in critical condition after being pinned under the dashboard. Emergency crews had cut her out of the vehicle.

The 14 children were transported to Kosair Children's Hospital. Ten remain hospitalized. Three of those ten remain in the Intensive Care Unit, but two are expected to be moved to general rooms within the next 24 hours according to hospital officials.  One of children will undergo facial reconstruction surgery a family member said.

Dr. Stephen Wright, Kosair Children's Hospital Medical Director, elaborated, "Most of the time they get to go home, so to have this many injured and admitted to the hospital is a little bit unusual."
 
Witnesses who were around the accident helped get kids out of the van.
 
"It was devastating," Charles McKellery said. "I didn't know what was gonna happen, I was scared, I thought maybe the baby was gonna die in my arms ... I was pinching her. Every time she went limp on me I would pinch her, you know what I'm saying, to make sure she was still with me."

An aunt to some of the accident victims was upset about how she heard about the crash.

"Hearing it from the news and not the day care is upsetting. That the day care owner is their cousins,"  Roniece Baker, aunt to three nieces and nephews on board the van, said.

Baker is upset that she got the news after watching TV, instead of a phone call from the Heavenly Angels Childcare Center owner who is family.

Four have been released from the hospital since the accident on Tuesday. Kosair's medical director says several children will be released from the hospital Wednesday night and two children will be moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a general floor.

No other vehicles were involved in the accident.

Heavenly Angels Childcare Center is in good standing with the state and has an active license.

In August, 2010, WHAS11 did report about a 2-year-old being left in a van at the day care on Dixie Highway. The family of the child said he was left alone for three hours and day care workers didn't realize he was missing until his parents came to pick him up. Two employees were fired.
   

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