Teen driver charged in UC student’s death had extensive criminal history

Prosecutors filed a motion Monday for the 17-year-old to be tried as an adult.
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 11:12 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 1:34 PM EDT

CINCINNATI (WXIX/WHIO) - The teen driver charged in last week’s crash that killed one University of Cincinnati student and injured another was previously charged in a police pursuit last year that sent a Boone County sheriff’s deputy to the hospital.

Both incidents involved stolen cars, and in both instances, the suspects involved abandoned the cars to flee on foot, authorities say.

Hamilton County Juvenile Court records obtained by FOX19 show a lengthy criminal history for the 17-year-old, who remains unnamed.

He first faced criminal charges in 2018 after a victim claimed he and others jumped them and punched them in the face on West McMillan Avenue near UC’s campus. He admitted to the assault and was released to his legal guardians with orders to stay away from the victim.

The Boone County incident happened late on Oct. 15, 2021 after deputies responded to a reported in-progress burglary involving a stolen SUV in Union, Kentucky. Deputies located the stolen BMW SUV and tried to stop it on US-42.

BCSO Lt. Chris Hall positioned himself on the US-42/Interstate 75 overpass to deploy stop sticks. The SUV intentionally swerved to hit Hall as he was outside his cruiser and then continued north onto I-75.

Four underage suspects were in the stolen SUV at the time. They abandoned it and then tried to escape using a ride-share, but deputies succeeded in stopping that car.

Hall was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He was discharged the next day.

“I know I’m battered, bruised, and banged pretty good. It should be a lot worse, if not dead,” Hall told FOX19.

The 17-year-old suspect was charged with complicity to assault and complicity to receiving stolen property. He admitted to the offenses in Boone County District Court on April 6, 2022 and was released on probation with mandated counseling and a curfew.

Following the Boone County incident, he was charged on June 21, 2022, after Cincinnati police officers found him with a loaded gun in his car. He was released sometime after Aug. 12 with an electronic ankle monitor that he subsequently cut off, officials said Monday in court.

Last Wednesday, he was the driver who plowed a stolen Honda CRV into UC students in a marked crosswalk on Jefferson Avenue, police say. He had allegedly just run a red light and was speeding at the time of the crash.

Cayden Turner and Namiya Russell, both 18, were taken to UCMC, where Turner succumbed to her injuries and Russell was listed in serious condition last week.

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Cayden Turner last Wednesday after she was hit by the driver of a stolen car on Jefferson...
Cayden Turner last Wednesday after she was hit by the driver of a stolen car on Jefferson Avenue off the campus of the University of Cincinnati.(WHIO/TheEnquirer)

After hitting the students, the 17-year-old kept going north on Jefferson Avenue, crashed into a tree and then stopped at West Martin Luther King Drive, according to police. He bailed from the Honda and ran off eastbound on Martin Luther King Drive.

A Cincinnati Fire Department spokesperson said at the time at least three people were believed to have been in the car when it crashed and that all of them fled. A fourth person in the car remained on scene and was treated for minor injuries.

The Honda CRV was entered as stolen, and a gun was found in the driver’s compartment, police say.

The 17-year-old faces charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, receiving stolen property, failure to stop after a crash, carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a weapon on disability.

Prosecutors on Monday filed a motion to relinquish the 17-year-old’s case and transfer jurisdiction to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, where he would be tried as an adult.

His next court date is scheduled for Oct. 13 at 9:30 a.m.

A magistrate ruled Monday he will remain locked up at Hamilton County’s juvenile detention facility, where he has resided since his arrest Friday, due to the seriousness of his crime

He also is wanted in connection with an outstanding charge in Boone County, court officials say.

Turner’s mother, Skeisha Rembert-Wilkerson, and her stepfather, Jermaine Wilkerson, spoke to WHIO in Dayton Monday. They described her as a bright and joyful person and are understandably heartbroken at her loss.

“Our families appreciate all the love and we just appreciate God giving us Cayden for the 18 years. She’s going to be in our hearts forever,” Wilkerson said.

Her family plans to find ways to keep her spirit alive.

“Even though a person is tragically killed, I mean their life and spirit can live on,” Rembert-Wilkerson said.

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Copyright 2022 WXIX. All rights reserved. WHIO via CNN Newsource contributed to this report.