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3-year-old Chokes on a Carrot at a Day Care Center

On March 17, 2009, Lisa’s beautiful 2-year-old daughter, Olivia, choked on a carrot while she was attending The Carousel Day Care School in Hicksville, New York. She died as a result.

Lisa Raspanti entrusted her daughter to the Carousel Day Care School. She thought the school was licensed; they were not!

The owner of The Carousel Day Care School, Eugene Formica, was recently convicted and sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to second degree reckless endangerment. Reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor in the state of New York.

The Carousel Day Care School was not licensed. At the time of his sentencing, Eugene Formica turned directly to Lisa Respanti and said, “not a day goes by that I don’t think of Olivia and I pray for her and her family.”

Judge James McCormick, the judge handling the case, commented that although Mr. Formica remorse was genuine, it was much too late.

Kathleen Rice’s office, the Nassau County District Attorney, commented that The Carousel Day Care School employed too few teachers. The teachers there employed were undertrained. There are too many children in this facility. The children were not properly supervised. This a recipe for tragedy!

Olivia took a carrot from her teacher’s bag. This, in and of itself, was a violation of New York state law. The property of day care employees is supposed to be maintained in a safe area. She choked while trying to eat the carrot.

When interviewed after the court proceeding, Stacey stated, “we hope our legislature will see fit to change the laws that contributed to Carousel’s belief that they can circumvent the system”. Hopefully the New York State legislature will take the appropriate action to close the loop holes in the state law that allow illegal, unlicensed day care facilities to operate. The State should also aggressively enforce the laws that currently exist concerning day-care centers.

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