Driver not charged with striking pedestrians longtime Murfreesboro PD employee
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WSMV) - The driver who struck two students walking to school on Tuesday morning is a long-time Murfreesboro Police employee, WSMV4 has learned.
WSMV4 learned that Ellen Drake, 42, the city’s 911 Communications supervisor, was not charged or cited for striking the two children.
The family of the student hit said they were told the day of the crash that the driver works for the city and will not be charged.
“I am mad. I am very mad,” Emilee Littleton said.
Littleton does not understand why the driver who sent her niece to the hospital this week is not being held accountable.
“I have to watch my niece struggle to do basic things like eat,” Littleton said. “She can’t do anything really. To know she gets nothing, not even a ticket at all, is very infuriating.”
Eighth-grader Kaydyn Hamby was walking to school with a friend around 7:40 a.m. Tuesday. They were crossing a crosswalk in a school zone near the intersection of Blaze Drive and Fortress Boulevard when they were hit by a car.
Littleton said she briefly talked to the driver when she got to the scene.
“Once the cops separated us, she just sat in the car, not an apology, not checking on the kids she hit, nothing at all,” Littleton said.
Since Drake works for the police department, Murfreesboro Police said to avoid conflict, the investigation was turned over to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol told WSMV4 the decision to cite the driver is up to the responding trooper. The trooper decided not to issue a citation in the accident. The District Attorney General’s Office took the trooper’s report and said that based on that report, the driver would not face charges.
“I have no words here,” Littleton said.
The family wants to know why since drivers are cited for far less in school zones.
The Murfreesboro Post reported in April 2021 that local law enforcement cited 86 people in one day for school zone violations like speeding and texting.
“You hear of people getting tickets for hitting parked cars with no one in them, but this woman hit my niece and another child and did not even get a ticket,” Littleton said.
The THP’s preliminary report said Drake hit the children at the crosswalk. That violates state law which states that drivers must stop at marked crosswalks for pedestrians in school zones.
“Every case is different,” Sgt. Alexander Campbell, a spokesman for the THP Nashville District said. “We have the discretion as law enforcement to cite or not to cite.”
Hamby’s family said the THP’s response sends the wrong message.
“It sends a message that if you work for the right people and know the right people, you can get away with whatever you want to get away with,” Littleton said.
WSMV4 asked the THP if Drake’s employment with Murfreesboro Police was a consideration in why she wasn’t charged and the agency said no.
Murfreesboro Police said Drake was not on duty and not driving a city-owned vehicle at the time of the crash.
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