published Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Middle Tennessee woman pleads not guilty in hit-and-run death

SMYRNA, Tenn. — A Middle Tennessee woman has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a hit-and-run crash that killed a 13-year-old boy trying to change a tire alongside Interstate 24.

The Daily News Journal reports 33-year-old Tina L. Wilson of Murfreesboro appeared in Rutherford County court via video on Tuesday for arraignment.

Wilson is charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication, vehicular homicide by recklessness, reckless assault and leaving the scene of a fatal crash. The crash killed 13-year-old Clifton Braunwalder, who was changing a tire on his mother's car. His mother, Sondra Braunwalder, was injured.

During the hearing, Judge Kieth Siskin also assigned Wilson an attorney.

When Siskin asked if she wanted the indictment read during her arraignment, she responded, "Please, don't," and began to cry.

Her next court date was set for Sept. 15.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Department of Transportation says it must take down a highway memorial for the teen due to safety reasons.

"TDOT sympathizes with the Braunwalder family and any family that loses a loved one on Tennessee roadways," agency spokeswoman Heather Jensen said. "However, placing a memorial along a busy roadway is dangerous to both the person placing the memorial and passing motorists."

She said the sign would be given to the family.

"There's a little disappointment that the sign is not going to be there, but at the same time there's a realization that rules are rules," said Rob Thomas, a family spokesman who is assistant troop leader of Clifton Braunwalder's Boy Scout troop. "They, of all people, want everyone to be safe on the Interstate."

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