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Juvenile arrested, charged in crash leading to Padgett’s death

From Staff Reports

The juvenile driver involved in the June crash that resulted in the death of a recent Unicoi County High School graduate has been arrested and charged, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

The release states the juvenile, who was not identified, was arrested after turning himself in to the WCSO on Monday after charges of vehicular homicide, underage consumption, curfew violation and aggravated assault by recklessness were filed in Washington County Juvenile Court.

According to the WCSO, the juvenile was transported to the Upper East Tennessee Juvenile Regional Detention Center and will be arraigned this Wednesday in Washington County Juvenile Court.

Ashlie Padgett, an 18-year-old May graduate of UCHS, died as a result of a June 10 single-vehicle crash. According to the Johnson City Press, Padgett was sitting between two other people in a pickup truck when the vehicle slid off Buffalo Mountain.

According to the crash report, the crash happened as two teenagers – one of whom was Padgett – and an adult – identified as Christopher Thomas – were headed down Buffalo Mountain toward Dry Creek Road, the Press previously reported.

According to the crash report, the driver said his brakes failed on a downhill slop of Firetower Road and truck went off the right side on the roadway onto a dirt path, the Press reported. The truck struck a tree then rolled over and came to rest against another tree. The juvenile driver and Thomas were able to get out of the truck, but Padgett remained trapped inside and later died.

None in the truck were wearing seat belts, according to officials.

The crash occurred on the Washington County side of Buffalo Mountain.