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Vehicular Homicide Charge to be Placed Against Teen from Early Morning Two-Minute Pursuit


December 26, 2013


The persons who led North Precinct officers on a two-minute pursuit in a stolen car early today are under investigation by detectives from several precincts for their potential involvement in armed robberies.
The driver of the stolen 2011 gray Toyota Corolla lost control of the car on Jefferson Street near the 18th Avenue intersection at 12:57 a.m.  The car skidded sideways, jumped the curb at 1822 Jefferson Street and rolled.  It also struck a parked pickup truck at 1822 Jefferson Street, pushing the truck into the front of the home.  A rear seat passenger in the Toyota, Kristopher Howard, 16, of Clifton Avenue, was partially ejected and died at the scene.  The driver of the car, Derrick Thomas, 16, of Torbett Street, was treated and released from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  The front seat passenger, Carmilla Ellison, 36, was seriously injured and was admitted to Vanderbilt.
North Precinct Officer Harrison Nearn spotted the stolen Toyota at 12:55 a.m. at the intersection of 25th Avenue North and Herman Street.  Officer Nearn, with emergency equipment activated, pursued the car for two minutes at an estimated speed of 60 mph.  Thomas lost control of the car while traveling straight on Jefferson Street and crashed.
The Toyota was stolen from the 4700 block of Illinois Avenue between 10:30 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. on December 23rd.  At 7:40 p.m. that night, the 25-year-old female owner of the car, who is from Murfreesboro, had arrived on Illinois Avenue to attend a Christmas party when she was robbed of her purse by two young men, one of whom carried a long gun and pointed it at the victim.  Some three hours later, the suspects evidently returned with the keys found in the victim’s purse and stole the car.
The robbery of the victim on December 23rd is similar to the December 22nd robbery of a 30-year-old man on 32nd Avenue North, during which he was forced to surrender the keys to a red Pontiac Grand Am to two young men, one of whom was armed with a long gun, the other with two pistols.  The Grand Am was recovered disabled just after midnight on December 24th in an alley off of 44th Avenue North between Michigan and Illinois Avenues.  Detectives speculate the criminals involved in the Grand Am case committed the robbery of the Toyota owner after abandoning the Grand Am in the alley.
Derrick Thomas will be facing charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, evading police, driving without a license, curfew violation and auto theft.  Additional charges are pending further investigation.  Thomas will be booked into juvenile detention later today.
Arrest warrants have been issued against Ellison charging her with auto theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  She will be booked upon her discharge from the hospital.  At the time of the crash, Ellison was free on bond on a felony cocaine charge from October.  She has prior convictions for possessing cocaine for resale, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, unlawful weapon possession, disorderly conduct, assault and several counts of driving on a suspended license.


Carmilla Ellison