Daycare owner's legal problems aren't finished - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Daycare owner's legal problems aren't finished

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- A woman was killed and small children were critically injured, yet the woman who owned the Louisville daycare involved in a deadly van crash will not spend any time in jail for the accident.  But Levonia Lewars could still pay a hefty price.

"Justice has a figure," says Thomas Clay, who represents the parents of three of the young children who have filed a civil suit against the driver of the van and the daycare owner Levonia Lewars.  Clay adds, "That's what we sue people for."

A Heavenly Angels daycare van carrying two adults and 14 children ages eight months to eight years crashed into a tree off Algonquin Parkway in Louisville back in June.  One person died and several more were hospitalized.

Clay explains, "One of them was injured very seriously and that child has received medical treatment and is recovering satisfactorily, although at this point I don't believe the recovery is complete."

WDRB has learned of at least one other suit representing four more children, including a two-year-old doctors are evaluating for permanent disabilities following brain injuries.

The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office determined Monday there's not enough evidence to go forward with criminal charges against Lewars.  When pressed, representatives declined to comment on camera, only saying, "We don't want to prejudice the defendant that's not being charged with a crime."

A police report says the van lost a tire before it crashed, but Clay says Lewars was negligent, having been previously warned by the state and violated several regulations:  "Specifically, there was an excessive number of passengers for this van to carry.  The children were not properly restrained, and the fact there was excessive speed indicated."

Lewars closed her business.  Prosecutors don't want her in jail for the crash, rather for fraud, claiming she schemed more than $300,000 from Medicaid.

"They're waiting for their day in court so they can seek some sort of resolution," says Clay.  "We haven't specified an amount yet.  We want to take a look at the investigative file that was considered by the Commonwealth Attorney's Office....Hopefully we'll get it going and resolved within the next six months."

Lewars filed for bankruptcy after the crash and faces another lawsuit claiming breech of contract on an $80,000 loan.  All of those cases are still pending.

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