An Anderson County man has been charged in an 11-count indictment that includes vehicular homicide by intoxication after a crash that killed a three-year-old boy and injured at least three other people in Oak Ridge last year.
Jason Robert Braden III, 3, died in the two-vehicle crash, which was considered a mass casualty event. It was reported at about 5:20 p.m. Friday, January 13, 2017, at the intersection of Emory Valley Road and Lafayette Drive.
Charged in the 11-count indictment is Jason Robert Braden II, 24, of Bush Road in Marlow. The charges against Braden include vehicular homicide by intoxication, vehicular homicide by recklessness, four counts of reckless aggravated assault, reckless endangerment when a deadly weapon (a motor vehicle) is involved, driving under the influence, driving without a license, speeding, and violation of the child restraint law.
The Anderson County Grand Jury in Clinton indicted Braden on February 27. He was arrested March 4. His bond has been set at $125,000, and he was released from the Anderson County Detention Facility on Monday, March 19. He has an arraignment set for Monday morning, March 26, in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton.
The indictment doesn’t specifically say whether Jason Robert Braden II is the father of Jason Robert Braden III, although their names suggest that he is. Oak Ridge Today has sought clarification on their relationship and will update this story with more information as it becomes available.
The two-vehicle crash on January 13, 2017, involved a total of 11 people, including three juveniles, the City of Oak Ridge said in January 2017.
Besides killing Jason Robert Braden III, the crash also injured five other people who were in a sport utility vehicle, the City of Oak Ridge said then. The five additional injured people included four adults, all in their 20s, and one other child. The injured were taken by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, a Level I trauma center.
Jason Robert Braden III died at the UT Medical Center from injuries sustained in the crash, according to his obituary.
The SUV, which was operated by Jason Robert Braden II, according to previous information and new information included in the indictment, ended up near a stoplight pole on the northeast corner of the intersection of Emory Valley Road and Lafayette Drive. The vehicle was heavily damaged, especially on its front end.
The reckless aggravated assault charges were brought on behalf of four people who were in the SUV and were injured in the crash: Ashley Marie Ann Braden, Dustin Sheehy, Joshua Selvidge, and Jason Robert Braden III.
The charge of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon (a motor vehicle) was brought on behalf of Justyn Braden, the other young child, who was placed in “imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury,” according to the indictment.
The indictment said Jason Robert Braden II was under the influence of an intoxicant, although it didn’t specify what kind, and he did not have a driver’s license. He was operating the SUV without making sure the two children inside, Jason Robert Braden III, 3, and Justyn Braden, less than one year old at the time, were protected by a seat belt or other passenger restraint system, according to the indictment.
The indictment said Jason Robert Braden II was driving at more than 60 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit is 45 miles per hour.
The second vehicle involved in the crash, a Volkwagen sedan, was occupied by five people (four adults and one juvenile). None of those occupants were injured, the City of Oak Ridge said in January 2017.
The precise circumstances of the crash and directions of travel of the SUV and VW sedan haven’t been officially released. But at the time of the crash, the SUV appeared to have been going north on Lafayette Drive. It wasn’t clear if the Volkswagen, which appeared to have less damage, was going south on Lafayette Drive or turning left from the southbound lanes onto eastbound Emory Valley Road, but the VW was angled in the direction of Emory Valley Road.
The crash damaged the stoplight pole at the northeast corner of the intersection. Residents of the Woodland neighborhood reported hearing the crash from several blocks away. It appeared severe enough that the stoplights on the metal pole where the SUV stopped were twisted at an angle.
Four people were entrapped in the SUV after the crash, David Harrington, Oak Ridge Fire Department battalion chief, said at the time. He said it was considered a mass casualty event due to the number of patients. Two city ambulances responded, and so did four ambulances from Anderson County EMS. A UT Lifestar medical helicopter was unable to respond to fly the injured to a hospital because of the weather that evening.
A crash reconstruction team from the Clinton Police Department responded to help investigate the crash, and the intersection was closed for about four hours that evening as police investigated.
Oak Ridge Police Department officers started a memorial at the crash site by leaving stuffed animals there the next morning, Saturday morning. January 14. Flowers were also placed at the memorial.
Among those serving as a witness for the state for the Anderson County Grand Jury in Clinton or otherwise summoned by the state in the case against Braden were Ray Faircloth of the Oak Ridge Police Department and other ORPD officers: Sherrill Selby, Jeremy Huddleston, Roy Heinz, Kevin Craig, Matt Johnston, and Kevin Merritt.
See an earlier story on the crash here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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