Teen Girl Charged In Death of Nashville Police Officer

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Officer John Anderson / MNPD

NASHVILLE, TN — Metro Nashville Police, Central Precinct Officer John Anderson, a four-year veteran of the MNPD, lost his life in service to Nashville’s citizens early on July fourth at the intersection of Interstate Drive and Woodland Street when his marked police car was violently struck on the driver’s side by a 2016 Ford Fusion being driven by a 17-year-old without a license. That teenager, Jayona Brown, has just been booked into juvenile detention on charges of vehicular homicide by recklessness, felony evading arrest, aggravated assault by recklessness, driving on a suspended license and juvenile curfew violation. A detention hearing for Brown has been scheduled for Friday at 2:30 p.m.

The investigation to this point shows that Officer Anderson was traveling east on Woodland Street just after 3 a.m. and is believed to have been heading to I-24 to assist a fellow officer with a pedestrian who was reported to have been in a traffic lane waving his arms. Officer Anderson was in the Woodland Street intersection with Interstate Drive when his police car was hit very hard by the Fusion, which was traveling south on Interstate Drive (traffic on Woodland Street had the right of way via a flashing yellow traffic light; traffic on Interstate Drive was to stop for a flashing red traffic light). Officer Anderson died at the scene. Brown was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she was treated and released. Brown’s passenger, Antona Esaw, was critically injured and is being treated at Skyline Medical Center.

Minutes before the collision, DUI Unit Officer Brian Dugre, in an unmarked police car, was traveling east on Gallatin Avenue at Ordway Place when he encountered the Fusion coming toward him. Brown had the high beams activated and was not dimming the headlights for oncoming traffic. Officer Dugre turned around and got behind the Fusion, which he saw commit a lane violation. Officer Dugre activated his blue lights to stop the car. Brown pulled to the right and slowed down, but did not stop. When Officer Dugre activated his siren, Brown sped away. Knowing that the Fusion had not been reported stolen (it belongs to Brown’s aunt) Officer Dugre did not pursue it, but did radio that the car did not stop for him at N. 5th and Main Streets. He also provided the license plate number. From a distance, Officer Dugre saw the car turn left onto Interstate Drive. By the time he turned onto the street with the intent of heading back into East Nashville via Woodland Street, the crash had already occurred.

Officer Anderson spent his entire MNPD career at the Central Precinct. He was a proud member of the department’s Drill & Ceremony Team. He was also a bagpiper.

Officer Anderson graduated from the MNPD Academy on June 9, 2015. In January of 2015, as part of an academy autobiography assignment, Officer Anderson wrote:

“So here I am, on the precipice of starting my career. After several months of closely following the national news regarding issues involving police officers and the public, I am more assured that I am no longer “wandering” down an unknown career path. I am definitely not feeling lost as I begin this journey of serving the public by becoming a Metro Nashville police officer.”

Officer Anderson, a 2013 graduate of Western Kentucky University, was the father of an 18-month-old son. He was not married. He was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

Officer Anderson’s parents reside in North Carolina. They will be traveling to Nashville. Funeral/Memorial arrangements are presently incomplete.

Anyone wishing to contribute to a fund for Officer Anderson’s son’s education may send a check to the MPD Community Credit Union, 2711 Old Lebanon Road, Nashville, TN 37214.

Persons wishing to send condolences to the MNPD via email can do so by sending the message to: mnpdassistance@nashville.gov. All condolences received will be printed and placed into a binder for Officer Anderson’s family.

Officer Anderson received the MNPD’s Lifesaving Award in 2017 and 2018, and the Department Commendation Award in 2019. Below are the narratives from those ceremonies.

2017 Lifesaving

It was 1:30 in the morning when Officer Anderson responded to a fight/stabbing call in the area of 3rd Avenue and Broadway. He encountered three persons who had been injured. After quickly assessing them, Officer Anderson saw that one individual had a deep stab wound to his back and was losing a lot of blood. The officer minimized the victim’s blood loss until Fire Department medics made it to the scene. The victim survived.

2018 Lifesaving
Officers Darien Spann and John Anderson

A suicidal man, in obvious emotional distress, was standing outside the railing of the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge. When the man leaned forward toward the river, barely hanging onto the rail, Officers Anderson and Spann, without regard to their own safety, grabbed the individual and pulled him to safety.

2019 Department Commendation:

Officers John Anderson, Kelcey Bell, Brenna Hosey and Joshua Whitworth

These officers were at the end of their overnight shifts when they responded to an unusual call at the Tiger Market, 227 Shelby Avenue.

They responded to a reported robbery at the business but when they arrived, all appeared normal. Rather than just leave, they continued to investigate and found a clerk hiding in a cooler in the back of the convenience store. She told them that two men had gone into the office, one armed with a handgun, and that she had hidden after calling 9-1-1.

Unbeknownst to her co-workers, both suspects had barricaded themselves in the office. The officers quickly cleared the business. After a several hours long standoff, both suspects surrendered.

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