Murfreesboro employee who hit students at crosswalk indicted

A Murfreesboro city employee was charged after she hit two students in school zone last month. WSMV's Courtney Allen reports.
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 6:23 PM CDT
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The video above was reported before Sept. 16.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Murfreesboro city employee who hit two middle school students with her car in August was arrested Thursday.

On Friday, Sept. 16, WSMV learned of the charges 42-year-old Ellen Drake faces. The charges were under a sealed indictment. The indictment said that Drake failed to observe pedestrians in a crosswalk.

Tennessee Highway Patrol’s preliminary report said on Aug. 9; the students were crossing Fortress Boulevard from Blaze Drive when 42-year-old Drake made a left then onto Fortress and hit them.

Drake has been released from custody without having to post bond.

The family of one of the students hit said her niece is still in pain and traumatized by the wreck.

Emilee Littleton said she never thought it would happen. “I freaked out, and I screamed for Kaydyn,” Littleton said.

The woman who hit her niece, Kaydyn, in a school zone last month has now been arrested. “I am very excited,” Littleton said. “I think that some kind of justice needed to happen.”

Drake was charged Thursday with failure to exercise due care, a misdemeanor. A grand jury in Rutherford County found Drake failed to observe pedestrians in a crosswalk. WSMV 4 talked to Kaydyn the day after the accident last month.

“I feel like we were in plain sight,” Kaydyn said. “How do you not see me or her? Like I just don’t understand.”

On August 9, Kaydyn and another student were hit while walking to class on a crosswalk. On August 11, WSMV 4 learned the driver, Drake, was a long-time Murfreesboro Police employee.

Tennessee Highway Patrol told WSMV 4 that Drake would not be charged or cited. WSMV 4 asked why since THP’s preliminary report said Drake hit the children at the crosswalk, which violates state law.

“Every case is different,” spokesperson Sgt. Alex Campbell said at the time. “We have the discretion as law enforcement to cite or not cite.”

The next day, WSMV 4 submitted a public records request for body camera footage from the crash scene. Our request was denied about a week and a half later because “the footage is part of an ongoing criminal investigation and prosecution.”

Meanwhile, Littleton started an online petition which got more than 3,500 signatures. Littleton also emailed THP administration.

“I let them know my niece was struggling,” Littleton said. “How do I explain to her that because of who she is and who she works for, she doesn’t have to have any kind of actions taken against her?”

Thursday, WSMV 4 was the first to report Drake’s arrest. Littleton said the family now has a meeting set up with THP this weekend.

“I don’t think she had a lot of faith in the beginning that anything would happen, and she was really mad about it, but now she is thankful,” Littleton said.

WSMV 4 reached out to Drake on what appears to be one of her social media pages, but we have not received a response.

“We forgive her,” Littleton said. “We don’t think it was intentional. I think she should have been paying more attention. It would have been nice to have an apology, but I think it was completely wrong for anyone who was involved to try to push this under the rug like they did.”

Drake’s arraignment is set for September 30. The Class-C misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and up to a $50 fine.

The city previously told WSMV 4 that Drake was the 911 Dispatch Supervisor. Friday, the city told us that Drake still works at the dispatch center as a training coordinator.

This is a developing story.