in fatal wreck treated as adult
Source: The Atlanta
Author: Beth Warren
plan to charge a 16-year-old as an adult for Friday's wreck that killed
first, the Gwinnett County district attorney would have to convince a
Juvenile Court judge that she deserves the harshest penalty possible.
blame Wendy Jennings of Duluth for causing the crash that killed her
teenage passenger and a Duluth woman in another car.
were no opened beer cans or other signs of drinking, but police believe
the Norcross High School students may have been involved in a drag race.
was headed south on Peachtree Parkway in a BMW when she lost control of
the car, hit the median, flipped and landed on a Honda Accord.
crash killed the Honda driver, Julia Burns, 61, and Jennings' passenger,
Jacob Miller, 17.
strip of Peachtree Parkway where the crash occurred has a reputation as
a racing haven.
she was speeding or racing hasn't been determined yet," police
spokesman Cpl. Dan Huggins said. "That would make it reckless and
bump it up to first-degree vehicular homicide, which is a felony.
she is considered the at-fault driver," he said. "She crossed
over the median into the wrong lanes of traffic."
remained at Gwinnett Medical Center's neuroscience unit Tuesday. Her
mother was at her bedside and declined comment in the case.
Attorney Danny Porter said he has not discussed details with police but
said the case belongs in Superior Court, where the penalties are much
the seriousness of the incident, my preference and my plan is to charge
her as an adult if possible," Porter said.
harshest possible sentence in Juvenile Court is up to five years
confinement in a juvenile facility.
adult court, the teen could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted
of first-degree vehicular homicide.
average sentence for that crime is about 8 1/2 years, Porter said.
first, Porter would have to convince a Juvenile Court judge that the
teen should be treated as an adult.
said he can't remember when that has happened in a vehicular homicide
are most frequently tried as adults for violent crimes such as murder,
armed robbery and sexual offenses.
would have to prove that Jennings can't be reformed in the juvenile
system and that treating her as an adult is either in her best interest
or in the best interest of the community.
racing is being blamed for another recent fatal wreck.
Copeland, 17, of Snellville and Stephen Carter, 18, of Loganville are
charged with felony vehicular homicide in the death of a Gwinnett police
were reportedly racing westbound on U.S. 78 on Feb. 7 when Copeland's
truck broadsided a Honda Civic driven by 17-year-old Amanda Anderson.
passenger in Anderson's car, 17-year-old South Gwinnett High School
student Matthew Lane, died from injuries two days later. Lane's father
is police Sgt. Randy Lane.
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