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Woman accused of causing crash that killed 5-year-old pleads not guilty

Avondale Estates Crime and public safety Decatur

Woman accused of causing crash that killed 5-year-old pleads not guilty

Michelle Wierson. Photo provided by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office

Michelle Wierson, an Avondale Estates resident, has pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, reckless driving, and battery stemming from a Sept. 27 crash that resulted in the death of Miles Jenness, a 5-year-old Winnona Park Kindergarten student.

Wierson was scheduled to be at an arraignment hearing on Monday, April 29 where she would be formally advised of the charges against her.

Her attorney said she waived her arraignment hearing, calling it a formality. No additional hearings have been set in the case.

According to court records, other charges in the case were not presented to the grand jury, including a charge of driving under the influence. The grand jury also was not presented with charges of serious injury by vehicle and following too closely.

It is not known why these charges were not presented to the grand jury. The affidavit in support of her arrest warrant alleges that Wierson was taking a combination of Ativan, Clonazepam (also known as Klonopin) and Seroquel at the time of the crash.

A spokesperson for the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office declined to say why the grand jury didn’t consider the charges of driving under the influence, serious injury by vehicle and following too closely.

“Generally speaking, arrest charges and indicted charges may not always align,” she said. “Following arrest, our office conducts further investigation to determine which charges are appropriate to pursue for indictment. At this juncture, I cannot offer any case-specific details regarding this investigation.”

Wierson’s attorney, Corinne Mull, says her client is mentally ill and was “in the throes of a psychotic break” on Sept. 27 when she allegedly slammed into two vehicles with her Volkswagen on Midway Road at South Candler Street in Decatur. The crash fatally injured Jenness. Mull says a toxicology report shows Wierson had no controlled substances or alcohol in her system.

Wierson is a licensed psychologist with the state of Georgia. She specializes in family therapy, with a focus on addiction in teens and parents. Records with the Secretary of State’s Office show her license was renewed on Dec. 20, 2018 and will expire in 2020.

According to police, after the collision Wierson began behaving erratically. She is accused of exiting her vehicle and running in and out of 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 police report says the DeKalb County Police officer attempted to get control of her and “she began assaulting him and was grabbing and scratching at his arms.”

She 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.

Avondale Estates Police Chief Lynn Thomas told Decaturish that officers received a call from 911 dispatch on the day of the crash.

“The comments on the call was the woman’s daughter was having some type of episode, and she had left the residence,” Thomas said. “That’s all we had, no direction of travel.”

Two officers went to speak to her parents, but she had been gone for a while before police arrived. Thomas said the parents told her that Wierson left the home to go to her daughter’s school because she believed her daughter was in danger.

Thomas said Avondale Police called Atlanta Police to send an officer to the school to check on her daughter. Wierson crashed on the way to her daughter’s school, Thomas said.