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|Knoxville High School Student's Death Ruled A Homicide
|A single vehicle crash killing a 15-year old honors student and football player at Knoxville High School has been ruled a homicide.
Brandon Melton of Knoxville was pronounced dead at the scene of Richmond and Roberts Street in Gilson April 22 when a Chevy Cobalt driven by 19 year old Jose Beltran lost control and struck a utility pole.
A coroner's inquest Thursday night ruled that Melton's death resulted from cranial cerebral injuries from the crash. Melton was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:20 AM, while two other passengers and the driver were transported to a hospital. Neither of the other three's injuries proved fatal.
Testimony from a Knox County Sheriffs Deputy indicates Melton was seated in the back, right seat, which was the area of impact with the utility pole.
Evidence suggests the vehicle was traveling at a "higher rate" of speed during a rainy night. It shows skid marks just north of where the southbound traveling vehicle exited the road, struck the pole, and rolled over several times.
Reports state the accident allegedly resulted from joyriding on a road with a high possibility of bottoming out at the rate of speed Beltran was operating the vehicle.
Beltran had told authorities he had four or five beers at a Knoxville party before picking up Melton. A toxicologist report indicates Melton had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death.
Beltran is facing charges of reckless homicide, aggravated driving under the influence, illegal consumption of alcohol, and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident among others. His alleged preliminary blood alcohol level was 0.113.
He'll be in court in January. A woman accused of providing the alcohol Beltran drank -- 49-year old Jean Lenz -- will be in court November 7th.
|10 28 11 by Newsroom
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