Police investigating Seymour teen's death

Police investigating Seymour teen's death

Michael Justin Mize (source: Smith Mortuary) Michael Justin Mize (source: Smith Mortuary)

6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - More details are coming to light about a teen's deadly accident as family and friends say goodbye to the victim.

Michael Justin Mize, 18, of Seymour, died after police say he jumped out of a moving car and landed in a ditch in Maryville.

Maryville police are investigating whether there was foul play. The key question is, did Mize jump out of the moving car by choice or was he pushed?

"At this point, it seems as though he did in fact jump from that vehicle, but again the investigation is still ongoing," said Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp.

Avery Todd Merriman, Jr, and his uncle, James Lewis, were the two men in the car with Mize. They are the only witnesses.

"They were going to get something to eat and they told us that Mr. Mize didn't want to go with them and that he jumped from the car. They said they did stop and thought he was deceased. They were drinking. They panicked, and they fled," Chief Crisp said.

The right thing would have been to call 911 but in the legal world it's not that simple because under Tennessee Law you cannot criminally charge someone for not calling the police.

Crisp says Mize was lying in the ditch for about an hour before he was found fighting for his life.

Mize's family received friends Friday evening at Smith Trinity Chapel in Maryville and the funeral followed.

Mize will be buried at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at Grandview Cemetery.

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