No criminal charges expected in deadly day care van crash


by Adam Walser

Posted on January 8, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 11:51 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- No charges will be filed in connection with last summer's crash involving the Heavenly Angels Day Care van.

The crash killed a day care employee and sent more than a dozen children to the hospital.

The police report was completed back in October, except for toxicology results, which were just recently made available to police.

They have not yet been made available to the news media, but we have filed an open records request for that information.

After the Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney's office reviewed all the information, prosecutors determined there was not enough evidence to convict the driver of a crime.

The crash killed a monitor and sent more than a dozen children to the hospital.

Police and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services determined the van involved in the crash was traveling 46 to 50 miles an hour in a 35 mile an hour zone.

Reports also indicate the van was overloaded and not all of the children were properly restrained.

At the conclusion of the police investigation, prosecutors decided not to take the case to the Jefferson County Grand Jury.

“How is transporting an excessive number of children, some of whom were apparently unrestrained, at an excessive speed not wanton endangerment first degree?” attorney Thomas Clay, who represents the family of two children injured in the crash said.

Clay points out that before the crash, Heavenly Angels had lost its transportation license at one facility.

The center was cited repeatedly for violating state safety regulations.

“They were certainly on notice that this type of conduct of not restraining the children and having excessive passengers on this van is a violation which would pose a risk to the safety of these children,” Clay said.

The driver, Keisha Tiller, who was injured in the crash, will not face criminal charges, but is named in multiple lawsuits.

Commonwealth's Attorney spokesperson Leland Hulbert issued a statement today saying, "We reviewed the investigative file given to us by LMPD and determined there was not enough evidence that a crime had occurred to take the case to a grand jury."

“It seems the Commonwealth has set a pretty low bar here for these businesses to operate and not holding them accountable criminally for their conduct, which certainly at first blush appears to be criminal to me,” Clay said.

The owner of the day care, Lavonia Lewars, faces separate criminal charges related to fraud and theft for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in state child care subsidies.

That case is still pending.