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Harbury man dead in Florida car crash.

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Re: Harbury man dead in Florida car crash.

Postby Bruce Everiss » Thu 26 Feb 2009 11:28 am

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/chi-porsche ... 0113.story

Jail halts playboy's life in the fast lane
Ryan LeVin basked in the South Florida lifestyle.

The scion of a wealthy Chicago-area family, he lived in an oceanfront condo owned by his parents and drove around Ft. Lauderdale in a Porsche 911 Turbo valued at more than $120,000. No longer employed by his parents' jewelry company, his main responsibility was tending to their two properties in an exclusive seaside neighborhood.

His privileged lifestyle ended abruptly this week when LeVin, 34, landed in Cook County Jail for a probation violation stemming from a 2006 car chase in Chicago.

In Florida, authorities continued Tuesday to investigate his ties to a hit-and-run crash that killed two British tourists.
The fatal crash has grabbed international headlines, with London tabloids portraying LeVin of Hoffman Estates as the "millionaire playboy" whose Porsche recklessly plowed into Kenneth Watkinson, 48, and Craig Elford, 39, as they walked back to their Ft. Lauderdale hotel Feb. 13.

The crash left five children fatherless and sparked outrage in England and South Florida, where journalists and Internet sleuths launched their own investigations. Even as LeVin sat behind bars Tuesday, new details emerged about drug use and run-ins with the law.

Ft. Lauderdale police say LeVin owned the white Porsche involved in the crash, but they have not called him a suspect. No charges have been filed in the case.

LeVin has said he was not driving the sports car when the crash occurred. Employees at a trendy Ft. Lauderdale restaurant confirmed he had been in the establishment that evening and left by himself in the Porsche. About an hour before the crash, a valet saw LeVin's sports car speeding up and down Las Olas Boulevard, one of the city's main drags, according to the restaurant's general manager.

On Tuesday, Ft. Lauderdale police released a recording of the 911 call placed shortly after the hit-and-run.

When the dispatcher asks if the car is still there, the caller calmly tells her "no."

"I just see a headlight, and there are, like, two gentlemen laying in the bush and they're all over the place," she says. "They look really hurt."

LeVin's Florida lawyer cautioned this week against a rush to judgment, saying the media had distorted the situation.

For LeVin, however, the case casts a harsh light on his lavish lifestyle. Raised as one of eight children in his parents' Barrington mansion—a Tudor-style home with its own ballroom and an enormous closet reserved specifically for his mother's theatrical evening gowns—he developed an appreciation for fast cars and even faster living, public records show.

His parents, Arthur and Shirley, made millions from Jewels by Park Lane, a direct-sales juggernaut that relies on at-home parties to sell its jewelry. The couple also own several harness racing horses and ranks among the sport's winningest owners.

The LeVins issued a statement last week expressing sympathy for the crash's victims and said they would handle the situation privately as a family. Ryan LeVin does not work for the company, according to the release.

He referred to himself as the company's vice president of national sales in court documents from 2007. In those same records, he details a substance abuse problem he says began with casual cocaine use when he was 21 and escalated following a bitter divorce in 2004.

Court documents connected to his divorce paint a darker picture of his drug addiction. His then-wife filed a restraining order against him in May 2003, accusing him of being a heroin addict who hid methadone in their car so she wouldn't find it. She accused LeVin of abusing Ativan, Valium, marijuana and sleeping pills.

Authorities were called to the couple's Texas home in April 2003 for a domestic disturbance, according to police records. LeVin's wife, who was pregnant, told police he had thrown her down on the couch and kneed her in the abdomen.

She did not press charges but filed for divorce three weeks later while LeVin was in Chicago. The judge granted a restraining order, instructing LeVin to stay away from his wife and stepson.

The couple, only married for three months before separating, officially divorced in 2004. Their daughter, now 5, lives with her mother in suburban Houston.

LeVin has racked up more than 50 traffic violations in Cook County since 1992, according to court records.

After a 2004 conviction in Lake County for unlawful possession of a controlled substance, he got a year of probation and was ordered to substance abuse class.

LeVin was ordered to attend drug treatment a second time following a 2006 incident in which he ran over a police officer and instigated a high-speed chase on the Kennedy Expressway. Authorities found a small bag of cocaine in the car.

In exchange for a lighter sentence, LeVin pleaded guilty to felony aggravated fleeing in November 2007 and was sentenced to 30 months of probation and mandatory substance abuse counseling.

LeVin was remanded Monday to Cook County jail for failing to complete drug treatment. The judge ordered him held without bail.

LeVin's Schaumburg lawyer, Michael Norris, contends his client underwent substance abuse counseling in Florida, but LeVin objected to the counselor's demand he stop taking the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

Though his parents have attended previous court appearances with him, they did not accompany him to the county courthouse in Skokie.

Norris said the LeVins would have been there if they knew he was going to be locked up.

LeVin, who appeared surprised by his incarceration, will return to court Thursday to discuss whether he's eligible for a special substance abuse program at the jail.
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Re: Harbury man dead in Florida car crash.

Postby Bruce Everiss » Sun 8 Mar 2009 6:50 pm

Miami Herald: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/southfl ... 32210.html

Owner of Porsche in fatal hit-run: Friend was driving

"Police are searching for a Tamarac man suspected of being behind the wheel of the Porsche 911 turbo that investigators say struck and killed two British businessmen during a drag race in Fort Lauderdale last month.

Investigators secured a search warrant on Feb. 19 to take a DNA sample from Derek W. Cook, 37, but have been unable to find him, according to court documents.

Ryan LeVin, the owner of the Porsche, told investigators within minutes of the Feb. 13 crash that Cook was driving his car when it ran off the road about 2:48 a.m. and killed Craig Elford and Kenneth Watkinson, the documents show.

Here is what LeVin said happened in the hours before and after the crash, according to the documents:

LeVin, 34, had been with Cook most of the night and was driving the Porsche until shortly after 2 a.m.

The two men went to Solid Gold about 5 p.m. Feb. 12 and stayed inside the strip club until about 1:30 a.m.

When LeVin left, he drove away in his Porsche and was headed to the Blue Martini. But he was stopped on Sunrise Boulevard by a Fort Lauderdale police officer because his muffler was too loud.

The officer gave LeVin a warning, but said he could be arrested in the future for the same offense.

LeVin became nervous and called Cook on his cellphone after pulling into the parking lot of the Blue Martini.

He told Cook to meet him because he was afraid of being arrested. The two switched cars, and LeVin drove home to his condo in the 2200 block of South Ocean Lane inside Cook's gray BMW.

But Cook did not show, so LeVin called him again.

Cook told LeVin that ''a white Nissan tried to race him and smoked his Porsche,'' according to the documents.

The two agreed to meet at a Hess gas station on Southeast 23rd Avenue and 17th Street before going out to another club that closed at 4 a.m.

Just after 3 a.m., a Fort Lauderdale detective on the way to the scene spotted the white Porsche, with a shattered windshield and front-end damage, at a red light near the gas station. The driver was talking with LeVin, who was driving the BMW.

The detective followed the two cars west over the 17th Street Causeway Bridge and on the other side an officer hit her emergency lights and siren.

The Porsche sped off south down U.S. 1 but LeVin stopped.

LeVin told the detective that Cook, whom he had known for 10 years, was driving his Porsche.

Keith Seltzer, LeVin's attorney, said the media has sensationalized the crash.

''This is not as the media is making it out to be: that it was clear-cut because my client owned the vehicle he was driving at the time of the accident,'' he said.

Police found the Porsche abandoned on the ramp from westbound Interstate 595 to northbound Interstate 95 and had it towed. Investigators discovered what appeared to be human tissue on the top left portion of the windshield.

Investigators believe DNA samples could prove that either LeVin or Cook was driving the Porsche at the time of the crash if DNA as left on the car's air bag when it deployed.

Cook was out of town when investigators attempted to execute the warrant, according to documents.

Seltzer would not say whether LeVin had given a DNA sample to investigators.

Fort Lauderdale police spokesman Sgt. Frank Sousa declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation."
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Re: Harbury man dead in Florida car crash.

Postby Bruce Everiss » Tue 24 Mar 2009 3:35 pm

Janet Watkinson Interview: http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/juice ... kinson.php

Do you believe LeVin's statement to police, that he wasn't driving?
It's hard to know who or what to believe. We just hope the police can determine the truth.

Do you know whether police have been able to find and question Derek Cook? What have they told you about their efforts to find him?
We've had no contact with the police. We just keep checking the web to find the latest updates.

Are you satisfied with the job that Fort Lauderdale Police have done in trying to bring the driver of that Porsche to justice?
The police are no doubt doing their best to find out the truth.

Will you or any other members of your family take legal action against LeVin or his family?
Nothing could ever replace the children's dad.

I believe that shortly after the accident, LeVin's family released a statement to your family and the Elfords, expressing its regret. Have you heard from the LeVins since? Have you been contacted by Cook's family?
We've had no contact with either family.
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Re: Harbury man dead in Florida car crash.

Postby Bruce Everiss » Sun 3 May 2009 7:07 pm

Florida hit-run family to sue US millionaire Ryan LeVin. Full story http://www.sundaymercury.net/news/midla ... -23528830/

" THE US millionaire who owns the car that killed two Midland British businessmen in a Florida hit-and-run horror crash is being sued by one of the victim’s families.

Ryan LeVin, 34, owns the Porsche GT that careered out of control at 100mph, mounting a pavement and hitting Kenneth Watkinson and Craig Elford from behind.

Father-of-three Kenneth, 48, and dad-of-two Craig, 39, were mown down on February 13.

The £110,000 sports car was seen racing another car along the beachfront in Fort Lauderdale before the fatal smash and was later found dumped.

Arrest

Police in Florida have failed to arrest anybody in connection with the deaths.

The family men were in the US on a six-day trip to recruit employees for their pharmaceutical business, Ingala Healthcare Ltd, in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Kenneth, from Harbury, near Leamington, and new dad Craig, from Ratley, Warwickshire, died instantly.

LeVin has been in prison in his home city of Chicago since February for failing to complete a drugs course, imposed in 2007.

A judge ordered him to take the course while placing him on probation for 30 months for sparking a police car chase that left three people injured.

LeVin denies that he was driving his Porsche GT on the night that it fatally crashed into Kenneth and Craig and has since named friend Derek Cook as the driver.

But a lawsuit was filed against him on behalf of Craig’s family last week...........................................more"
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Re: Harbury man dead in Florida car crash.

Postby Bruce Everiss » Sun 19 Jul 2009 12:37 pm

News update: http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west ... -24188806/

"THE millionaire owner of a car that killed two Midland businessmen in Florida in a 100mph hit-and-run could be released from prison next month........................The pair were in the US on a six-day trip to recruit employees for their pharmaceutical business, Ingala Healthcare, based in Stratford-upon-Avon. Mr Watkinson, from Harbury, near Leamington, and new dad Mr Elford, from Ratley, Warwickshire, died instantly. Both families have now filed civil lawsuits against LeVin and Cook................"
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Re: Harbury man dead in Florida car crash.

Postby Bruce Everiss » Wed 17 Mar 2010 9:49 am

US heir charged over deaths of Britons

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 22576.html

An American playboy has been charged in connection with the death of two British businessmen who were mown down in a hit-and-run crash, a lawyer acting for the family of one of the victims said.

Kenneth Watkinson, 48, of Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, and Craig Elford, 39, of Ratley, Oxfordshire, were both killed as they walked to their ocean-front hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on February 13 last year.

A white Porsche GT2 owned by 35-year-old Ryan LeVin, the heir to a jewellery empire, mounted the kerb, hitting the two Britons before speeding off.

Jonathan Pavsner, who represents Mr Watkinson's widow Kirsty and their three children, said the local state attorney's office had charged LeVin with two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident causing death.........................

..................Mr Watkinson and Mr Elford ran a pharmaceutical business, Ingala Healthcare, and were in America to recruit employees.

Mr Watkinson was living in Harbury, near Leamington Spa, with his second wife Kirsty and son Max, now aged five.

He also leaves two children from his first marriage, Jonathan, 20, and Stephanie, 17.

Mr Elford was the father of a newborn baby girl at the time of the accident. His two daughters are now aged three and one.
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Re: Harbury man dead in Florida car crash.

Postby Bruce Everiss » Wed 17 Mar 2010 9:54 am

Playboy charged in 2009 crash that killed 2 in Florida
Son of wealthy Chicago-area family accused of vehicular manslaughter in deaths of British businessmen

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/loca ... 4138.story

Ryan LeVin's reputation as reckless playboy took a darker turn Monday as the troubled scion of a wealthy Chicago-area family was charged with vehicular manslaughter in connection with a hit-and-run crash that killed two British businessmen in Fort Lauderdale last year.

Police said LeVin, 35, formerly of Hoffman Estates, was behind the wheel when his Porsche 911 Turbo jumped a sidewalk and struck Craig Elford, 39, and Kenneth Watkinson, 48, as they walked back to their beachside hotel around 2:15 a.m. Feb. 13, 2009.

LeVin and his friend Derek Cook were driving on a prominent South Florida boulevard when the crash occurred, according to court documents. Police records allege the two men switched cars almost immediately after the crash, with Cook later abandoning the Porsche on an interstate ramp.............

.....................Both victims' families filed suit against LeVin and Cook. Seth Miles, the Elford family's attorney, described LeVin as "a time bomb."

"He lived his life irresponsibly and recklessly and eventually someone was going to get hurt by him," Miles said.

LeVin's attorney could not be reached for comment.

LeVin, who grew up in Barrington, has racked up more than 50 traffic violations in Cook County since 1992, according to court records.

LeVin was ordered to attend drug treatment after he ran over the Chicago police officer. Authorities found a small bag of cocaine in the car. When he failed to complete drug counseling, he was sentenced to two years in a downstate prison in May 2009. He was released in August, after receiving credit for good behavior.
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Re: Harbury man dead in Florida car crash.

Postby Bruce Everiss » Tue 7 Jun 2011 10:46 am

US playboy pays off families of Warwickshire death crash duo
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/loc ... 4798.story
Ryan LeVin: Justice bought and paid for

Ryan LeVin may have bought his way out of prison Friday.

LeVin could have received two decades behind bars for running down two British businessmen on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Now, some legal experts say, the case appears to be an unsettling example of checkbook justice.

"It is an unbelievably light sentence," said University of Florida law professor Michael Seigel, a former federal prosecutor. "It is very disturbing."

Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein called it another example of a privileged defendant receiving leniency from the justice system, something rarely afforded a common street criminal.

"It is an outrage, and there should not be a single person in our community that is not offended by the fact that it is clear you can buy justice in Broward County. Our clients in similar situations, in every case, go to prison for substantial periods of time," he said. "If it is appropriate that you not go to prison when you have money, it should also be appropriate that you not go to prison when you have no money."

LeVin, 36, is the son of wealthy parents who founded a costume jewelry empire in Illinois.

LeVin reached a confidential civil settlement with the families of the two men and was sentenced to two years of home confinement, to be followed by 10 years of probation..................more
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Re: Harbury man dead in Florida car crash.

Postby Bruce Everiss » Tue 7 Jun 2011 10:48 am

Kill Two Pedestrians, Go To Jail? Not In Florida
http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/10 ... in-florida

On February 13, 2010, millionaire Ryan LeVin was racing his Porsche 911 Turbo against a friend’s BMW in the Fort Lauderdale area when he lost control of the car. A nearby security camera caught his Porsche jumping the curb and striking two British tourists, killing both.......................more
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Re: Harbury man dead in Florida car crash.

Postby Bruce Everiss » Mon 20 Jun 2011 12:15 pm

Ryan LeVin Headed to the Slammer
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/ ... _slamm.php

Brit-killing dunce Ryan LeVin is headed up the river for a bit, although unrelated to making roadkill out of two men with his Porsche.

LeVin is scheduled to turn himself over to the cops in Chicago this morning due to a parole violation related to pummeling three other people with his car in the Windy City, including a local cop.

Cara Smith -- chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Corrections -- told the Miami Herald that LeVin will stay in jail for a while until the parole board decides how long he'll have to spend in the clink.

Smith says his sentence is likely to be less than six months, including the time he has to wait for his hearing before the board.

The pinhead was supposed to be in an Illinois prison for two years but was paroled after only six months by a Cook County judge.

LeVin wasn't allowed to leave Illinois without permission as part of his parole, so when the folks back home found out he was mowing over tourists in Fort Lauderdale, they decided to bring him back in.

Broward County Judge Barbara McCarthy ended up sentencing LeVin to two years' house arrest, ten years' probation, and 1,000 hours of community service.

There's no word on whether LeVin has permission from Florida to leave for Illinois, but since he's not allowed to leave his parents' cozy condo, it sure sounds like a violation of a court order so far.

LeVin also has a few prior convictions not related to running over people with his car -- like coke possession and fleeing from police and a boatload of traffic violations.
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