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Teen in deadly MNPD officer had marijuana in her system; officer was speeding at time of crash

Judge orders teen to remain in jail
Posted at 3:27 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 22:24:36-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For the first time since the deadly crash that killed Metro Nashville Police Officer John Anderson, the suspect, Jayona Brown, appeared in court.

The teenager faces evading aggravated assault and vehicular homicide charges in the death of the 28-year-old officer.

On Independence Day, Brown's 2016 Ford Fusion hit Anderson's patrol car at the intersection of Interstate Drive and Woodland Street, causing it to crash into a utility pole and catch fire.

Police say she was trying to get away from another officer who initiated a traffic stop a few streets away. Her attorney has argued Anderson was negligent, saying he was driving above the allowed speed limit while responding to a scene.

Brown appeared in court for the detention hearing Thursday afternoon. Cameras were not allowed in the court room to protect juveniles inside.

In the hearing, several key witnesses testimonies were shared.

An officer testified that a blood test showed Brown had 3.6 nanograms of THC in her system, indicating marijuana use. But he said it was "impossible" to say how impaired Brown may have been at the time of the crash.

The court also heard from the officer who first arrived on scene - the same officer who tried to pull Jayona over. He said she accelerated to 50 miles per hour while trying to get away, but he stopped the pursuit and lost sight of Jayona's car as it turned onto interstate drive.

Other officers from the DUI unit testified about the speed of the two vehicles at the time of the crash. They said Brown's car went through the intersection at 40 miles per hour and officer Anderson went through the intersection at 71 - more than 25 miles per hour faster than Metro Police Department policy allows.

Brown's attorney, Michie Gibson, argues that his speed was a contributing factor in the crash, saying it was excessive. Gibson says that if both drivers had been acting within the law, the crash would not have happened.

"I’ve been asked a tough question before, did officer Anderson contribute to his death and that’s a tough one to answer. The facts answer the question, yes he did," said Gibson.

Prosecutors argued that Jayona created unnecessary risk when she both ran from police and ran through the flashing red light.

Family members of Officer Anderson broke down in court as witnesses described the manner of his death.

Brown was 17 years old at the time of her arrest. She has since turned 18 but will be held in juvenile jail and will be treated as a minor unless a judge decides otherwise.

"She's turned 18 and she's looking at doing 52 years or maybe the rest of her life in prison. That's how she's feeling for running a flashing red light," said Gibson.