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Police: Woman charged in deadly Nashville crash; gave keys to 13-year-old driver for $80

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Posted at 10:58 AM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 14:21:27-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A woman has been charged with vehicular homicide after police say a 13-year-old was driving her car during a deadly crash in South Nashville.

According to an affidavit, 37-year-old Katrina Russell is now facing charges of vehicular homicide by recklessness, a felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police said the teen driver, who has not yet been identified, is also in custody for vehicular homicide by recklessness, driving without a license, and no proof of insurance.

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Katrina Russell

The crash happened on March 5 at an O'Reilly Auto Parts store on Nolensville Pike. Metro police said 71-year-old David Cheatham was killed when a 13-year-old boy crashed into his car as he was about to leave the parking lot.

The police report said Russell, who knew his age, gave the keys to the teen in exchange for $80. Police said the teen told them he bought the car for $80. According to police, Russell later met with investigators and confirmed there was an exchange of money for the car. They said she is the registered owner of the car.

A witness told police the car that the 13-year-old was driving had been involved in a hit-and-run and was fleeing that crash. The same witness said the car was traveling 90-100 mph when the driver ran a red light at Haywood Lane before losing control and hitting Cheatham’s car.

Investigators said surveillance video from a business across the street showed the car enter the frame at a much higher speed compared to other traffic.

Police said Russell, who does not have a residence, was taken into custody when officers responded to a Helmwood Drive home under renovation after reports of people living there without permission. She came to the door and told officers that she was helping a friend paint the house. Russell was jailed in lieu of $6,000 bond.

Read more: Family wants answers after loved one was killed by 13-year-old driver