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How to Train a Misfit

November 11, 2009 permalink

A teenager who had skipped several juvenile court hearings ran away from home, got behind the wheel of a car without a drivers license and drove into an accident, hitting seven-year-old Yah’rell Holmes and killing thirteen-year-old Dayshaan Ballew. The driver fled the scene.

Who trained the driver? Ohio social services. They took Kellisha Whitterson away from her parents when she was young, and placed her with a foster family that adopted her. She ran away several times from the failed adoption and was placed in a therapeutic foster home (often a euphemism for a lock-up) then returned to her adoptive family and a group home. Prosecutor Dotty Branson can only suggest that the court system was not harsh enough to Kellisha in the past. There is no indication in the story that anyone in the "care" system ever said a positive word to the girl.



Kellisha Whitterson
Kellisha Whitterson

Last Updated: 3:36 pm | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teen driver will face adult charges in fatal hit-and-run crash

By Sharon Coolidge • • November 10, 2009

CINCINNATI - A 17-year-old accused in the hit-and-run death of a 13-year-old boy who was standing on an Evanston sidewalk will face charges related to the death in adult court, Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Karla Grady ruled Tuesday.

If convicted, Kellisha Whitterson faces up to 15 years in prison on charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash in the death of Dayshaan Ballew.

Hit-and-run driver says she was forced

Misdemeanor charges of driving without a license and being a runaway were dismissed. Whitterson is being held in the Hamilton County jail on $175,000 pending formal adult charges.

Grady said she made her decision in part because juvenile court could not offer a significant punishment and that Whitterson is close to her 18th birthday and past attempts at rehabilitation have failed, according to prosecutors.

Cincinnati police say Whitterson didn’t have a license when she got behind the wheel of a gold Honda on Sept. 26, an adult male friend in the passenger seat.

She lost control while turning onto Clarion Avenue, went left of center, over-corrected and drove up on the sidewalk, hitting two boys, Dayshaan and Yah’rell Holmes, 7, police said.

Whitterson slowed, but then fled, police said. Bystanders saw part of the license plate.

Dayshaan died early the next morning of severe head and chest injuries. Yah’rell suffered a minor injury.

Whitterson was arrested after officers found video at a nearby gas station showing a gold Honda before the crash. She told police she didn’t want to drive, but had to because her adult passenger showed her a gun and said she if she didn’t, he would hurt her family.

Officers claim she’s lying. The passenger has not been charged.

Whitterson is no stranger to juvenile court. She was taken away from her biological family when she was young due to problems her parents had and adopted by a foster family, Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Dotty Branson said.

As Whitterson reached her teenage years that placement failed, with Whitterson running away several times, records show.

She was placed in a therapeutic foster home, returned to her adoptive family and finally placed in a group home. That was where she was living at the time of the crash.

A mental evaluation shown to the judge said there are no emotional or mental issues with Whitterson that would prevent the case being moved to adult court, but that Whitterson in the past suffered from depression and adjustment disorder. Whitterson has had little therapy, according to the evaluation, Branson said.

“From our perspective we didn’t think she was amenable to juvenile court rehabilitation,” Branson said.

Branson said Whitterson has never cooperated with the court, in fact at times she didn’t bother to show up for hearings.

“She had the chance several times and never complied with what was requested of her,” Branson said. “She has shown disregard for authority of juvenile court.

“Therefore she should be held to the standards she wanted to be all along, that of an adult,” Branson said.

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer