PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - A hit-and-run driver has set off a chain reaction of chaos for a longtime business owner in Southwest Philadelphia.
The pre-K and kindergarten students at Peak's Little Angels daycare center at 52nd and Baltimore seemed to enjoy eating their lunch on Wednesday. But the events of the past two days have left a bad taste in the mouth of the daycare operator.
"I didn't realize that losing one vehicle could have such an effect on my entire program," Thelma Peak told FOX 29.
Around 2:30 Tuesday morning, a hit-and-run driver smashed into the driver's side rear bumper on Peak's 2015 Ford Transit van, parked, legally, on Baltimore Avenue.
Leon Jamison lives right across the street, and rushed to his bedroom window upon impact.
"I heard a big boom," Jamison told FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "It actually sounded like something exploded."
When Peak discovered the damage, she reached out to her insurance company, who told her not to move the van until they could come out and take a look.
Each week day that van transports 29 young children to 15 area schools, and each afternoon picks them up and returns them to the daycare. No van, no before-and after-school program.
That means less income for Thelma. She's already cutting the hours of staffers who are-- until the van is back in service-- not needed. And parents must now make other arrangements to get their kids to and from school.
Parents like Natisha Carter who is a rehab nurse and widowed mother of two.
"This morning I found out they didn't have any van serviced once again," said Carter. "So I had to call somebody and pay somebody to take my children to school."
So far, that driver has cost Thelma, her employees, parents and their youngsters.
"Whoever did it," says Leon Jamison, "You could just say it was a hit-and-run. They need to do something about it. Man up or woman up-- do what you have to do, because you damaged somebody's property."
Thelma says she tries to teach her youngsters to do the right thing. If only the adults around here would provide an example.
"It's very frustrating. And I would love to see if I can come up with any ideas to combat, not just in the community, but citywide, people (taking) better responsibility."