The teenager behind the wheel last summer during a fatal crash with a Metro Nashville Police Officer will be tried as an adult.
Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway signed an order Monday morning, which sends four charges against Jayona Brown to criminal court. She could face decades behind bars.
Juvenile court cases get special protections. Records are kept under seal and the time someone can spend in custody is limited. But now, the teen will be treated like any other adult in the court system.
And the consequences could be serious.
The 18-year-old faces four counts, ranging from vehicular homicide to driving on a suspended license. The most severe charges carry a sentence of up to 15 years.
If her case had remained in Juvenile Court, Brown would have been released from custody by her nineteenth birthday.
Brown has been held at the Juvenile Detention Center since July, when the car she was driving collided with East Precinct Officer John Anderson’s police vehicle.
Another officer had tried to pull Brown over during the early morning hours of July fourth, after she drove through a flashing red light. When the teen fled, her car crashed into Anderson’s and sent it into a utility pole.
Anderson had been on his way to assist another officer, and was driving more than 70 miles an hour. His police vehicle caught fire, and Anderson died on the scene.
Prosecutors asked Judge Calloway to transfer the case to adult court last month, arguing that the charges against the teen were serious enough that they should be handled in the adult system. Such decisions depend on a handful of factors, including the juvenile’s prior record, whether or not the offense was against a person and the possibility of rehabilitation.
In Monday’s order, Calloway wrote that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that the interest of the community require[s] that the respondent be put under legal restraint and discipline.”
The Juvenile Court says the teen will be transferred to the adult jail today. Her bond has been set for $100,000.
Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member.