Man Held In Fatal Crash And Arrested For Child Stealing Had Been Released

The man behind the wheel of a stolen car involved in a fatal crash on Wednesday was free due to an error, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said in a released statement.

Levon Walter McDaniel, 36, was wanted in Madera County on DUI, stolen vehicle and cruelty of a child charges before he crashed a stolen car near North and Marks Avenue while attempting to evade a police helicopter and killing 55-year-old Earnest Grant.{}

Grant was on his way home from work when McDaniel ran a stop sign and struck his car, officers said. Grant died at the scene of the crash.

On June 27, McDaniel was arrested near a parking lot on Fresno Street and Ashlan Avenue with a 10-year-old boy who had been reported missing. He was booked into the Fresno County Jail on charges of child stealing and an outstanding felony arrest warrant out of Madera County. He was released from the Fresno County Jail on July 6.

And on Wednesday, a young boy and woman were passengers inside of the stolen car he crashed.

A Fresno County Sheriff's spokesperson on Thursday said the child stealing charges were not filed by the District Attorney's Office. However, McDaniel stayed in custody on the warrant.

On June 1st, Sheriff's personnel sent a teletype to the Madera Department of Corrections advising of McDaniel's incarceration on their warrant. The teletype also advised that McDaniel needed to be picked up from the jail by July 6 at 6 p.m.

McDaniel was released from custody on July 6, but was not picked up on the warrant, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said.

On that same evening at 6:50pm, another teletype was sent by the Sheriff's Office to the Madera Department of Corrections advising them that McDaniel had been released from custody, and that the arrest warrant would have to be reactivated.

KMPH called the Madera County Jail to ask why McDaniel was not picked up. Phone calls were not returned.

McDaniel is now facing charges for evading police, operating a stolen car, and possibly manslaughter in addition to all of the charges in Madera County.