A horrific tragedy earlier this month reminds us that a vehicle can quickly become deadly on a hot day. Last week, the body of three-year-old Myles Hill was discovered in a parked van at the Little Miracles Academy day care center in Orlando. The little boy, along with several other children, had been transported from one of Little Miracles’ locations to another. When the child was found, authorities believe he had been in the van for nearly 12 hours.
According to police reports, Myles’ grandmother called the center when he didn’t get dropped off in the afternoon. Employees reported that the child had never been seen at the center that day, prompting an immediate investigation into his whereabouts. At about 8:30 that evening, Myles was found on the floor of the van, which had been parked at the center since 9:00 a.m. Outside temperatures had reached 93 degrees that day.
No Head Count
Myles’ aunt, Vivian Chaney, claimed that family members called the center that day to discuss school uniforms. Although Myles had never arrived at school, nobody reported his absence on the phone call with the child’s family. Deborah Denise St. Charles, the employee who drove the van, admitted that no head count had been taken when the children were dropped off at the other center. St. Charles is being charged with aggravated manslaughter for the child’s death.
According to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), this isn’t the first time Little Miracles Academy has been negligent. In March 2017, DCF found that nap-time standards were not being met; staff failed to remain “within sight and hearing” of children while they slept. And in July, DCF found that Little Miracles had neglected to log important transportation information, including arrival times and locations. In response to Myles’ death, the department is conducting an investigation of the center. A Boston wrongful death attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve lost a loved one due to another’s negligence.
As stated in the Florida Administrative Code, when children are being transported in a vehicle, a driver’s log should always be maintained. As each child exits the vehicle upon arrival at a destination, the driver or other responsible party must mark off the child’s name. Next, a visual sweep of the vehicle must be conducted to ensure that no child is left in the vehicle. Not only did St. Charles fail to comply with either of these requirements, DCF previously warned about these requirements in July (as stated above).
According to the safety organization Kids and Cars, approximately 37 children die in hot cars annually across the country. “Please ensure that we are checking our vehicles for our kids,” said John Mina, Orlando Police Chief. “It just takes a minute.”
St. Charles is currently being held on $30,000 bond at the Orange County Jail, and Little Miracles Academy is closed until further notice. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you or a loved one has been injured due to another’s negligence.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Personal Injury Law Firm
If your child has suffered due to abuse or neglect in a day care center, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Our experienced, compassionate attorneys understand the sensitive nature of injury claims involving children. The serious injury or death of a child is a parent’s worst nightmare. We will do everything in our power to make this process as smooth and painless as possible. Don’t go through this difficult time alone. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.