Note: This story was updated at 7 p.m.
A second person has been charged with homicide in the death of a young boy in a traffic crash in Oak Ridge in January 2017.
Jason Robert Braden III, 3, died in the two-vehicle crash, which injured at least three other people and 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.
In March 2018, Oak Ridge Today reported that an Anderson County man, Jason Robert Braden II, 25, had been charged, after the crash, in an 11-count indictment that included vehicular homicide by intoxication. The other charges against Braden included 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.
That case is still pending in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton. The homicide and assault charges are felonies, while the driving offenses are misdemeanors.
The second person, Ashley Marie Ann Braden, 23, was indicted by the Anderson County Grand Jury in Clinton on December 4. She was charged with a single felony count of criminally negligent homicide. The indictment alleged that Braden engaged in criminally negligent conduct that resulted in the death of Jason Robert Braden III. The indictment does not elaborate on the alleged facts of the case, which is typical for indictments.
Bond for Ashley Marie Ann Braden was set at $10,000. She was booked into the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on December 17 and released on December 20, according to jail records. She has an arraignment scheduled for Friday in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton.
Bond for Jason Robert Braden II was higher: $125,000. He was booked into the Anderson County jail March 4, 2018, and released March 19. His next court date is February 11.
However, the Seventh Judicial District Attorney General’s Office is seeking to revoke his bond. A motion filed November 19 by Assistant District Attorney General Melissa Denny included seven reasons. Among them: Braden was arrested in Oak Ridge in March 2018 for driving on a suspended license, and he was cited in Anderson County in July for driving on a suspended license, not having insurance, speeding, and a registration violation. Also, a bail bond company has asked to be relieved of its obligations on bonds in three of Braden’s cases, and it has been alleged that Braden has not worked at a lawful occupation while on probation, failed to report in July, failed to report an address change, and failed to appear for a drug screen, Denny said.
She said criminal defendants are entitled to bail under the Tennessee Constitution, but that right may be forfeited if a defendant is charged with another criminal offense during the defendant’s release.
“Behavior consistent with good citizenship is also expected by one released on bond to protect the safety of the public,” Denny said. “The defendant’s new charges, his criminal history, and his failure to comply with the terms of his probation indicate that he is not entitled to bond.”
Braden was booked into the Anderson County jail in August for a probation violation and failure to appear, and he has remained jailed since then, according to jail records. He has a conditional bond forfeiture date scheduled for February 25.
Jason Robert Braden II was reported to be driving a sport utility vehicle involved in the crash in Oak Ridge in January 2017, and Ashley Marie Ann Braden was identified as a passenger. Jason and Ashley Braden were identified as the parents of Jason Robert Braden III in his obituary.
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 the 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 Braden’s indictment last year, 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 two homicide charges against Jason Robert Braden II and the one against Ashley Marie Ann Braden are because of the death of Jason Robert Braden III.
The reckless aggravated assault charges against Jason Robert Braden II 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 Jason Robert Braden’s indictment last year.
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 indictment against Ashley Marie Ann Braden includes a list of 17 emergency responders who could be summoned by prosecutors, including eight Oak Ridge Police Department officers, an Oak Ridge Fire Department firefighter, a member of Anderson County EMS (Emergency Medical Services), a medical examiner, and five representatives of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and the University of Tennessee Medical Center Emergency Department.
Ray Faircloth of the Oak Ridge Police Department is listed as the witness in the case.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See previous story here.
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