84ºF

Dad might remove kids from day care after crash

Father says 2-year-old, 5-year-old sons OK after van flipped in wreck

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the wake of an accident involving a day care van on the Westside that sent nine children to the hospital, one parent said he's considering moving his children to another day care.

Lee Hulbert was at Young Kids in Motion Learning Academy on Thursday gathering his sons' belongings because he's not sure if he or his children will be returning there.

A van from the day care carrying nine children, including Hulbert's 2-year-old and 5-year-old, collided with a car Wednesday and flipped on Hollycrest Drive. None of the children suffered life-threatening or traumatic injuries, but all were taken to the hospital. 

"I mean honestly my mind went blank. I was just like, 'I need to get to my boys.' That was the main thing about it. And not only them, I'm thinking about all the other (children)," Hulbert said. "They both are going to be alright. I kept them out of school today because I wanted to evaluate them myself. No one knows them like their parents."

photo

Hulbert said his 2-year-old has a heart condition, but he is OK after the crash. Hulbert said his 5-year-old son, who is suffering from back pain, recounts the accident to anyone he sees.

Hulbert said he's not sure when or if he'll let his two sons return to the day care.

"I don't know," Hulbert said. "That's a long conversation that I have to have with mom. At the end of the day, it's about my kids."

Sarra Brown's five children also attend Young Kids in Motion. She said one of her daughters has ridden the van involved in the accident before, but on Wednesday she was not on board.

"I wouldn't even want to think about what I would have done. My main focus would have been getting to my child and making sure the other children were OK," Brown said.

She said despite the accident and issues raised by the Department of Children and Families over some of the children not being in proper restraints in the van, she's confident in the day care and those who run it.

"My children are still attending. They will stay here," Brown said. "One thing I can say about Miss Wright is she's a very honest and caring person. I don't have any concerns, never had any safety concerns in the past either."

DCF said a couple of the children in the van should have been in car seats, per state law, because they're under 3 years old. That's a possible Class I violation that could bring a fine of up to $500. DCF also said because a 1-year-old was also in the van, it should have been carrying no more than six children. That's a possible Class II violation.

Officials said all the children were wearing seat belts.