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February 1, 2006

Suspect in daycare crash charged with intoxication assault

GREENVILLE — A Greenville man was charged Tuesday with four counts of intoxication assault, for allegedly driving his car into a local daycare center and injuring two adults and two children.

Richard Leonar Whytus, 43, also received four charges of failure to stop and render aid at the scene of the Monday afternoon accident and remained in custody Tuesday evening at the Hunt County Jail in lieu of a total of $180,000 bond.

Whytus has one prior arrest for driving while intoxicated on his record, according to the Hunt County Attorney’s office.

Meanwhile, workers at the Wee Wisdom Play School tried to carry on as close to normal as possible Tuesday, 24 hours after a Pontiac Firebird crashed into one wall of the building.

Owner Gayle Howell said she may never completely get over what happened.

“I know I aged 10 years or more right then,” Howell said, adding neither she nor the members of her staff were able to sleep Monday night.

“We tried, but it didn’t work,” Howell said.

Whytus is accused of being intoxicated when he drove the car into the southwest corner of the building in the 4100 block of Moulton Street at around 1:25 p.m. Monday.

One of the center’s teachers and a 15-month-old boy were transported by helicopter to Dallas hospitals following the accident. Another daycare teacher was transported by ground ambulance to Presbyterian Hospital of Greenville and one child was taken by a parent to a private physician.

All of the injuries were reported as minor and all four had been treated and released by Tuesday morning.

Whytus fled on foot after the crash, but was apprehended within minutes by officers responding to the scene.

Greenville Police Chief Harold Roseberry said the officers who took Whytus into custody believed he was intoxicated and transported him to Presbyterian Hospital of Greenville for blood tests, the results of which are pending.

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