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Four children killed in daycare van crash
Four children were killed and two were injured after a daycare van veered off a highway in Memphis, Tenn. last week.
The accident occurred at approximately 8 a.m. while the daycare van was on its way to the Tippy Toes Learning Academy. The van was occupied by six children and a driver, and was only about 4 miles away from the school before witnesses say the van all of a sudden left Interstate 240, slid into the guardrail and then smashed into the supports of an overpass.
According to officials, the driver was instantly killed along with two other six-year-old girls. Two young boys, ages 8 and 9, later died at LeBonheur Children’s Center after being rushed to the hospital, leaving the last two remaining children in critical condition.
The names of the individuals involved in the wreck have yet to be released.
Police believe that the van was averaging a speed of roughly 65 mph before it crashed on the interstate, where the speed limit is 55 mph. Officials said that all the children were wearing seatbelts or were in safety seats, but are unsure if the driver was ever wearing a seatbelt.
Police are now conducting an autopsy on the driver in search of possible alcohol or drug use.
According to CNN, the newspaper Commercial Appeal of Memphis, reported that the driver had a criminal record with police after pleading guilty to possession of marijuana in 2000 along with being charged with burglary in 1992.
These criminal charges should have appeared during a background check, which would have immediately disqualified the driver from ever receiving the job for the daycare center.
Upon investigation, officials also found that the daycare center’s file does not even state that the driver ever had a background criminal check. Daycare center rules became strict in Tennessee after an incident in 1999, where two toddlers were killed due to heat stroke when they were left alone in transport vans that belonged to two other centers.
Sandra Gordon, who is the owner of the daycare center, was the mother of the 8 year-old-boy that was killed and the 11-year-old boy that was injured in the accident, and has yet to comment on the issue regarding the hiring of the driver.