Boy dies after being hit by alleged intoxicated driver, suspect is psychologist specializing in addictionMichelle Wierson. Photo provided by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office
This story has been updated.
A 5-year-old boy has died days after an alleged intoxicated driver slammed into the back of his father’s vehicle.
The boy was a Winnona Park Elementary kindergarten student and his death was confirmed by multiple sources in the community familiar with the situation. The Decatur Police said the boy’s name is Miles Jenness.
“Additional charges are pending against the driver responsible for the accident,” Lt. Jennifer Ross said. “We are deeply saddened that the family has lost a beloved child and we will do all we can to make sure justice is served.”
Several readers have shared a link to a Go Fund Me account established on behalf of the family. The account was created by teachers at Jenness’ former school. A spokesperson for City Schools of Decatur officials said CSD officials are also working to set up a fund on the family’s behalf.
The suspect in the case, Michelle Wierson, 52, lives in Avondale Estates. She is currently in jail. Attempts to contact her or her attorney have not been successful.
Police have also not revealed what they believe caused the Wierson’s alleged intoxication at the time of the incident.
A review of public records by Decaturish reveals that she is a licensed psychologist with the state of Georgia. A phone number for her business also appears at the end of an article published on the MARR Addiction Treatment Center website. The number is also associated with her home address in Avondale Estates.
Her biography at the end of the MARR article states, “Michelle Wierson, PhD earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in Child Clinical Psychology at the University of Georgia. She is a professor emeritus of Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University, and serves as a psychological consultant for the Georgia Department of Labor. A licensed psychologist in the States of Georgia and California, Dr. Wierson specializes in family therapy and the treatment of adolescents, including a focus on addiction in teens and parents.”
She is accused of slamming into two vehicles with her Volkswagen on Sept. 27 around 5:14 p.m. The five year old boy and his father were riding in the first vehicle she allegedly struck, and the impact left the boy in critical condition.
” A 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan occupied by a single adult female driver traveling westbound on Midway Road struck a 2011 Toyota Corolla occupied by an adult male driver and 5-year-old child that was stopped at the red light on Midway Road at South Candler Street,” Lt. Ross said. “The Volkswagen continued into the intersection and struck a 2007 Dodge Caliber traveling south on South Candler Street and the driver of the Volkswagen (Wierson) exited her vehicle and began behaving erratically, running in and out traffic.”
An off-duty DeKalb County Police Officer and an on-duty MARTA police officer happened to be in the area and stopped to help.
“The adult female driver (Wierson) began to assault the DeKalb County police officer and was taken into custody for battery against a police officer,” Ross said. “The 5-year-old passenger in the Toyota that was initially struck on Midway Road was unresponsive. The Marta police officer and bystanders administered CPR to the child until medical personnel arrived. The driver and child in the Toyota were transported to an area hospital. The driver/parent was treated and released for moderate injuries. The child was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. The driver of the Volkswagen was taken into custody and transported to an area hospital for evaluation and was later transported and booked into the DeKalb County Jail for the battery charge.”
Following the accident, Wierson was served with warrants for causing serious injury by vehicle, reckless driving, following too closely and driving under the influence, Ross said.
City Schools of Decatur spokesperson Courtney Burnett said the school system provided counselors and other support staff to Winnona Park Elementary on Friday and Monday.