Car crashes into day care center for disabled kids

September 7, 2012 10:00:00 PM PDT
A car slammed into a day care center for disabled children in west Harris County. Luckily, none of the students were there at the time.

The crash happened Friday night at Smartie Pants Academy on Highway 6. Cleanup began Saturday, but the owner is wondering how they'll get repairs finished.

A.J. Swenney, 6, loves going to Smartie Pants Academy.

"Because you get to learn a lot," he said.

A.J. and 30 other kids -- many of them with disabilities -- go to the center learn and play almost every day. None of them were there when the crash happened, but they almost were.

"It sounded like an accident, but when I went up and looked, I seen the car inside the building," witness Robert Shawn Blackwell said.

The front entrance of the day care was smashed to pieces. Witnesses called 911, got the driver's insurance information and then called Sumiko Hamilton, the owner of Smartie Pants Academy.

"I was devastated. I jumped out of the chair, got in my truck and I pulled up, not knowing what to expect," Hamilton said. "When I got here, all the front windows were busted out. The building was left wide open."

The owner says Harris County Sheriff's Office investigators left the building damaged and open without contacting her before they left. HCSO officials were unable to confirm the claim.

Hamilton put up $500 dollars to board up the windows right away, and she plans to re-open on Monday despite the estimated $7,000 in damage that remains.

"It would be hard for me to close the business and allow my parents to miss out on work and my children to miss out on school because of an accident by a person that was irresponsible," she said.

Even as she worries about repairs and insurance claims, Hamilton tells us she feels lucky.

"Actually, yesterday night was supposed to be a parents night out where we stayed open until midnight," she said. "I canceled it at 5pm yesterday. Thank God I canceled that yesterday because my babies would have been in the building."

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