Teen indicted on vehicular homicide charges stemming from fatal drag race crash

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Holden Jeffrey Melton. (Photo: Roane County Sheriff’s Office)

HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WATE) — A Wartburg teen was indicted this week on several charges connected to a May 2019 fatal crash that had begun with a drag race.

The indictments against Holden Jeffrey Melton, 19, handed down by a Roane County grand jury on Monday, included vehicular homicide by drag racing, vehicular homicide by reckless driving, failure for driver to exercise due care, speeding, reckless endangerment with a weapon, reckless driving, and failure to maintain control.

Reports state on May 26, 2019, Melton and three other teens were riding in a 2002 Nissan Maxima when Melton, who was driving, lost control of the vehicle in a downhill curve on Orchard Valley Drive at Dyllis Road; the car running off the road and into a tree.

Two teens – Austin J. French, 18, and Joshua A. Freels, 16, both of Harriman, died.

Melton and another teen, Kameron N. French, 16, of Harriman, were injured in the crash.

The teen was accused of drag racing the Nissan Maxima for the purpose of comparing the relative speed of the vehicle within a certain distance or time limit before losing control and crashing the vehicle, causing the deaths of two passengers.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash. Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated the incident.

Melton’s next court date for an arraignment is Feb. 24.

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