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Rogersville teen to be tried as adult for wreck when he was 16

Jeff Bobo • Nov 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Joshua Junior Arnold was already facing multiple burglary and theft charges in adult court from earlier this year, but with a decision Tuesday by Hawkins County Juvenile Court Judge James “Jay” Taylor, Arnold will also be tried as an adult on a vehicular homicide charge stemming from a 2006 accident.

Arnold, 19, 224 Old Route 66, Rogersville, faces charges stemming from an accident that occurred on July 28, 2006, when he was 16 years old.

According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report of the incident, Arnold was driving at a high rate of speed northbound on Route 66 near mile marker 4 shortly after 1 a.m. that morning.

The vehicle exited the right side of the road while attempting to negotiate a curve, flipped and struck a tree, resulting in the death of Kenneth Clifford Brady, 20, of Rogersville.

A toxicology test on Arnold after the accident allegedly revealed his blood alcohol level to be 0.05, and that his blood also contained Diazepam. Arnold was critically injured in the wreck.

Following Tuesday’s hearing in juvenile court, Arnold was transferred to adult court to face charges including vehicular homicide, driving without a valid license, and a seat belt violation.

Public Defender Russell Maddox asked the judge to consider that prosecutors waited 2½ years after the accident to petition for a transfer to adult court. But Taylor said that length of time was not legally relevant.

It was later revealed that investigators kept track of Arnold for about five months after the accident, during which Arnold remained in critical condition and unresponsive. Evidently, Arnold later recovered.

Arnold’s name didn’t pop up again on the law enforcement grid until this past March, when he was arrested on multiple aggravated burglary and theft charges by the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office. That’s when prosecution of the vehicular homicide charge resumed.

Arnold had to meet three criteria to be transferred to adult court: if there’s reasonable grounds to believe he is guilty; if there’s anything the juvenile court could do to rehabilitate the juvenile; and do the interests of the community require that he be transferred to adult court.

“After weighing the statutory considerations and the interests of the community and protecting the community from this type of behavior, the court found that it was proper to transfer him to adult court,” Taylor said.

If convicted of vehicular homicide in juvenile court, Arnold couldn’t be held beyond the age of 19, which he already has reached. In adult court he faces up to 12 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Alex Pearson said the charges against Arnold will be presented to an upcoming grand jury. Arnold has been held in the Hawkins County Jail without bond since his arrest on the burglary and theft charges in March.

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