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Grieving Mother Defends Driver of Fatal Crash that Killed Son - Eric Alvarez

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The mother of a teenager killed in a fatal crash involving a stolen car and a police chase defended the driver Thursday

"I am beside him through this battle because what would we have one to have another child die, except this time to the sytem," Shetika Davis said in front of more than 100 people at a community action meeting at the Howard Congregational Church.

Davis' son Kris Howard, 16, died when Derrick Thomas, 16, led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen car along Jefferson street December 26. 

The chase ended when the car crashed into the home of Preston Bronaugh.  Howard was ejected from the car and died at the scene.

The day it happened, Bronaugh said while the result was tragic, the teens were living a risky lifestyle.

""He made his choices and it's unfortunate," Bronaugh said.  "It's a terrible shame that it had to go that way."

Rasheedat Fetuga organized Thursday's community meeting, through Gideon's Army, an organization that seeks to positively impact teens.

The meeting drew more than a hundred concerned families.  

Fetuga acknowledges thomas broke the law but says putting a 16-year-old kid in jail for life, isn't the answer.

"It does not mean that the young man  who caused the wreck gets off scot-free," Fetuga said.  "It means that we look at better ways of holding young people, and people in general, accountable because the current methods clearly don't work."

Davis said, if she can forgive Thomas, so can the system.

"He was my child's best friend," Davis said.  "They were both 16 years old.  They got caught up in a situation, true enough.  I'm not going to ever deny that, but at the same time they're not these hardened criminals."

Thomas faces charges of vehicular homicide, evading police, driving without a license and auto theft.

There was also an adult female in the car when it crashed December 26.  She's charged with auto theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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