US heir Ryan LeVin charged over deaths of Britons

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.

Each of the vehicular homicide charges could carry up to 15 years in prison.

Mr Pavsner said LeVin was expected to hand himself in to police, possibly later today, to face the charges.

He added that LeVin, who has a history of motoring offences and drug abuse, attempted to claim a friend, Derek W Cook, had been driving the performance car when the accident happened.

But police stopped the car only 12 minutes before the accident for driving away quickly from a green light and because of a loud exhaust, and LeVin had been at the wheel at that point.

Just moments before the crash, the Porsche and a BMW belonging to Cook were caught on camera speeding along the road before the Porsche lost control.

The Porsche was later found abandoned after police failed to stop the damaged car as it drove at speeds in excess of 100mph.

Cook has been charged with being an accessory after the fact and aggravated fleeing and eluding. He is free on 8,500 dollars bail.

At the time of the crash, LeVin, who has a record of more than 50 traffic offences, was on probation for a high-speed police chase in Chicago that left one police officer and two drivers hurt.

He also served six months in prison last year for violating his probation by failing to complete a drug treatment programme.

Mr Pavsner said if LeVin did not hand himself in to police, officers would be sent to arrest him.

He added that as well as the criminal case, the families of the two victims were suing him for compensation.

He said of Mr Watkinson: "He was a husband and a father of three and they are suffering the worst loss imaginable."

LeVin is the son of Shirley and Arthur LeVin, who founded Jewels by Park Lane, a Chicago-based business which calls itself the "world's leading direct sales fashion jewellery company".

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine