MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The driver of a day-care van that drifted off a highway, killing himself and four children, pleaded guilty to a drug charge less than 1 1/2 years ago and should not have been transporting children, The Commercial Appeal reported.
Wesley Hudson pleaded guilty in December 2000 to possession of marijuana and paid a $350 fine, the newspaper said. The State Department of Human Services, which regulates child care, said the drug charge should have prevented Hudson from working for a day-care center.
Only the driver and his six young passengers were on the van when it crashed Thursday morning on Interstate 240.
The van was about four miles from Tippy Toes Learning Academy when it veered to the right, slid along a guard rail and smashed into the supports of a highway overpass.
"There was no indication there was anything out of the ordinary before the vehicle left the roadway," said Charles Cook, a deputy police chief. The southbound van was believed to be traveling about 65 mph in a 55-mph zone, he said.
Hudson, 28, and two 6-year-old girls, Tica Bonner and Brayna Robinson, died at the scene. Tica's brother Cardarrus Bonner, 9, and another boy, Marcquon McCray, 8, died at LeBonheur Children's Center, hospital spokeswoman Janet Phillips said.
Tica and Cardarrus' 11-year-old brother, Taurus Showers, and Marcquon's 10-year-old brother, Jerry McCray, remained in critical condition Friday morning, Phillips said.
Sandra Gordon, owner of the day care center, is Marcquon and Jerry's mother. She declined to comment.
The center's day care file does not indicate Hudson underwent a criminal background check, and state officials were trying to figure out why, said Anne F. Turner, director of day care licensing for the Tennessee Department of Human Services. He was hired last September.
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