Juvenile petitions will be issued charging a 15-year-old driver involved in a police pursuit and car crash that claimed the life of her younger brother in December.
The petitions will involve misdemeanor offenses of death by vehicle and speeding to elude arrest, Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson said Tuesday.
This caps an intensive investigation of the fatal wreck that occurred around midnight on Dec. 15 in a curve on Carter Street in Mount Airy.
A Pilot Mountain girl who had obtained a family car without their knowledge or permission later would be clocked traveling 78 mph in a 45 mph zone on U.S. 52 in the city limits.
The speeding 1999 Ford Contour attracted the attention of a city officer who attempted unsuccessfully to get its driver to pull over. The 15-year-old instead led the officer on a pursuit progressing along U.S. 601 toward Walmart and then onto side roads leading to the crash site in a sharp curve along the Ararat River where the vehicle went out of control.
Passenger Sheldon Wright II, 9, of 147 Van Hoy Way, Pilot Mountain, the brother of the unidentified driver, was fatally injured. The boy was a student at Pilot Mountain Elementary School and a Little League football player.
Meanwhile, the girl suffered only minor injuries.
The investigation involved a reconstruction of the accident, culminating in meetings with the Surry County District Attorney’s Office and family members in recent days regarding the outcome.
Watson said this led to the decision to seek petitions through local juvenile authorities.
However, their filing will not necessarily mean the case winds up in court, he said, indicating that the juvenile justice process provides more leeway than that involving adults.
“That’s a mechanism to enter into a contract for resolution,” the police chief explained of the petition procedure that can require counseling or some other “appropriate remedy” to address any issues of the person responsible.
Watson said another goal is a “healing process” for those who have been hurt by the tragedy.
All this could be effectively set in motion before the case reaches the court phase, he said.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.