Scales of Justice. Image: Clyde Robinson
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.
LeVin fled the scene of the accident, and when police finally caught up with the costume-jewelry-empire heir, he denied being behind the wheel of the Porsche at the time of the crash. LeVin alleged that he’d switched cars with a friend half an hour before the accident, but that alibi evaporated when police produced evidence that LeVin had been stopped in his Porsche for a loud exhaust just 12 minutes before the fatal crash. Ironically, LeVin was on probation at the time of the fatal accident, for striking a Chicago police officer with his car in 2006.
Things looked bleak for LeVin, who faced up to 45 years in prison. Instead, LeVin received a sentence of two years house arrest and agreed to pay restitution (of an undisclosed amount) to the victim’s families. His attorney argued that the need for LeVin to pay compensation to the families outweighed the need for prison time, and the sentencing judge agreed.
The restitution also settles a civil suit brought against LeVin by the victim’s families, but LeVin does face prison time in Illinois for parole violation. That assumes that Florida will allow extradition to Illinois, but something tells us that LeVin’s lawyer will find a way to fight that as well.
The most disturbing part? Although LeVin pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident, he never offered an apology to the victims’ families.
The bottom line is this: if you’re going to break the law, be prepared to suffer the consequences, unless you live in Florida and have lots of money. In that case, all it takes is a big enough check to set things to right.