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‘Reckless conduct:’ 22-year-old man charged in wreck that killed 2 Cleveland High students

From NewsChannel 9: He told officers he swerved to miss an animal, but state troopers later determined a man's reckless driving was to blame in an

From NewsChannel 9: He told officers he swerved to miss an animal, but state troopers later determined a man’s reckless driving was to blame in an accident that killed 2 students from Cleveland High School.


An arrest affidavit we obtained through McMinn County court shows 22-year-old Jaylen Deandre Wesley-Cook was booked at the McMinn County Jail on Monday, and is facing a long list of charges.


The document provides more details about the tragedy that stunned the Cleveland High School community.


The accident happened on Cherokee Crossing in Calhoun, Tennessee, in McMinn County, at about 11 p.m. Friday night.


The affidavit says arriving troopers found a white Hyundai Santa Fe on its top, with 2 deceased victims inside. They were later identified as Air’ra Wilson and Shytez Jackson. Wilson was just a few days away from graduation.

Photo: WTVC

Photo: WTVC

The document says a third girl was hurt in the crash with a skull fracture. A medical helicopter flew her to Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga, and as of Monday, she was listed in critical condition.


In the affidavit, the trooper goes on to say

An open bottle of Crown Royal was found in the vehicle as well as a Zip Lock bag containing approximately 10 grams of a green, leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

The trooper found the driver, Wesley-Cook, across the street from the wreck, along with a girl who had been sitting in the front passenger seat.


He says he “noticed a slight smell of an alcoholic beverage about the driver and passenger,” but says 4 or 5 people were nearby, so he couldn’t tell where the smell came from. He says Wesley-Cook and the girl both denied drinking alcohol.


The trooper then asked Wesley-Cook what happened. He replied that he was heading eastbound going about 35 miles per hour when an animal crossed his path, and he swerved to avoid it, ultimately rolling over. The trooper says the girl corroborated his story.


But the evidence didn’t line up with Wesley-Cook’s story, according to the trooper.


He says

..the vehicle was actually going westbound at a speed well above the posted peed limit of 20 mph and too fast to safely negotiate the right-hand curve. The vehicle was traveling fast enough to leave a yaw mark on the pavement before sliding off the roadway. The driver was unable to maintain his lane of travel, crossed the center line, and drove off of the left side of the roadway. The vehicle ultimately collided with a standing tree and overturned.

The trooper says Wesley-Cook at first agreed to a blood alcohol test, but withdrew his consent when he got into an ambulance. Troopers had to obtain a search warrant, and so Wesley-Cook’s blood wasn’t drawn until 5 hours after the crash happened.


Here’s how the trooper concludes his report:

The driver’s reckless conduct placed himself and all four passengers in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.

Wesley-Cook is charged with 2 counts of vehicular homicide, simple possession of drugs, aggravated assault with great bodily harm, and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon.


Friends and family members held a vigil for Wilson and Jackson on Sunday at Cleveland High School.


Earlier this month, law enforcement agencies tried to drive home the message to not drive drunk at Bradley Central High School with a demonstration of the death and damage a drunk driver can cause.