Teen Driver In Fatal Car Chase Faces Charges In Additional Crime - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Teen Driver In Fatal Car Chase Faces Charges In Additional Crimes

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Carmilla Ellison Carmilla Ellison

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The teenager driver who led police on a short pursuit that led to a fatal crash has been charged with two counts of aggravated robbery for separate crimes.

Officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department said an officer spotted a stolen 2011 Toyota Corolla at the intersection of 25th Avenue North and Herman Street just before 1 a.m. Thursday.

The vehicle was driven by16-year-old Derrick Thomas. Also inside the car were 36-year-old Carmilla Ellison and 16-year-old Kristopher Howard.

The officer made an attempt to stop the vehicle but Thomas would not pull over. He led the officer on a short chase for roughly 2 minutes at an estimated speed of 60 miles per hour.

Thomas lost control along Jefferson Street near 18th Avenue. The Toyota hit a curb and lost control. The vehicle went airborne and struck a parked pickup truck. The impact of the crash forced the truck into a duplex along Jefferson Street. The Corolla came to rest upside down in the yard.

Howard was partially ejected from the vehicle. Officials said he died at the scene.

Ellison was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with serious injuries. Thomas was also taken to the hospital, where he was interviewed by detectives.

No one inside the home was hurt.

After conducting their investigation, officials determined Thomas and 16-year-old Rhyan Rawlings robbed the female owner of the Toyota.

The woman told police she was attending a Christmas party at a home on Illinois Avenue Monday when the two young men approached her around 7:40 p.m. One of them was carrying a long gun, pointed it at her and demanded her purse before fleeing the area.

About three hours later, police said the teens returned and stole the car using the victim's car keys from her purse.

After talking to Thomas, detectives determined he also robbed a pizza delivery person that same evening on Alameda Street.

Rawlings was arrested Tuesday and charged with the aggravated robbery in both cases. Details of the arrest were not available.

Officials said the cases were similar to another robbery Sunday night of a 30-year-old man on 32nd Avenue North. The man told police two young men, one armed with a long gun, robbed him of the keys to his Pontiac Grand Am. The car was recovered just after midnight on Tuesday in an alley off 44th Avenue North between Michigan and Illinois Avenues. 

It was believed the teens stole the woman's Toyota on Monday after abandoning the Grand Am in the alley.

Based off information obtained from Thomas, police recovered a rifle from an alley off 28th Avenue Thursday afternoon.

Police were also looking into the teens' connections to several additional robbery cases. They said their investigation implicated Howard in some area robberies.

Thomas was booked into juvenile detention and charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, evading police, driving without a license, curfew violation and auto theft, in addition to the aggravated robbery charges. Additional charges were pending further investigation.

His mug shot was being withheld to avoid interference with photo lineups for victims and witnesses in this and other cases. 

Ellison was expected to be charged with auto theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor upon her release from the hospital. At the time of the crash, she was free on bond on a felony cocaine charge from October. She has prior convictions for possessing cocaine for resale, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, unlawful weapon possession, disorderly conduct, assault and several counts of driving on a suspended license.

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