STANTON, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman has been charged in a hit-and-run crash near Greenville that killed one teen boy and injured two others.
Brandy Sue Jones, 40, appeared in a Stanton courtroom via video Friday for arraignment on charges of failure to stop at the scene of a crash when at fault causing death and two counts of failure to stop at the scene of a crash resulting in serious impairment.
She looked down and cried during the proceedings, saying yes when asked if she understood the charges and her rights.
When the magistrate set her bond at $1 million, citing the death and serious injuries caused by the crash, Jones covered her face with her hands as she sobbed. If she manages to post bond, she will be placed on house arrest, the magistrate said.
Asked if she understood the bond conditions set by the court, Jones replied, “No.”
“I’m done with this. I can’t sit in here,” Jones continued, still crying.
When the magistrate asked for clarity about what she didn’t understand, Jones continued crying.
“Please stop,” she said, going on to say she felt sick.
Prosecutors had asked for a bond of no lower than half a million dollars.
“Miss Jones … attempted to hide the evidence of that offense afterwards. I would also point out … she’s on parole. She met with her parole officer the next day. She tested positive for methamphetamine. These are all concerning facts,” Chief Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Villet told the court. “She is a clear danger to the community and we would ask for the appropriate bond.”
Even if bond had been lower, the parole violation hold would have kept Jones behind bars.
The crash happened around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in Eureka Township, northwest of Greenville. Michigan State Police said a car hit three boys who were walking along Wise Road near West County Line Road. Tire tracks show the car veered off the roadway, hit the boys, then tore through a yard and back out on the roadway. One of the boys, 14-year-old Greenville Middle School student Jamison Lafferty, died at the scene. Two others were hospitalized with injuries including a broken pelvis and two broken ankles.
Pieces of the car were left at the scene, allowing police to identify it as a Volkswagen Jetta. Tips from the public led investigators to Jones’ car near a home on West Dickerson Lake Road in Gowen, police testified in court. The car was impounded Thursday.
“It was a culmination throughout the investigative process between the tips that were received and the investigative leads that the detectives have developed,” MSP Lt. Michelle Robinson told reporters Friday.
Jones later admitted that she was involved in a crash on Tuesday but didn’t know what she had hit until she saw news reports the following morning, investigators testified.
MSP said teams are still analyzing the Jetta. They declined to comment on what other evidence they have, nor would they confirm whether or not anyone else was in the car with Jones.
“We know from experience that the judicial process will take time,” Robinson said. “The Michigan State Police will continue to work tirelessly to process evidence and deliver the justice these families deserve. Right now, we ask the community to continue to support these families as they focus on their loss, grieving process and the additional victims’ long road to recovery.”
Jones, who has an address in Belding, was sent to prison in 2020 on a methamphetamine conviction out of Montcalm County. She was released on parole in March and is under supervision through March 2024, state records show. She has several previous driving violations, including driving on an expired license, failure to display a valid license and no proof of insurance, according to Michigan Secretary of State records.
Not guilty pleas were entered on Jones’ behalf at arraignment, which is standard. She’s expected back in court Aug. 23 and Aug. 29 for her next hearings. If convicted of failure to stop resulting in death, she faces up to 30 years in prison because she is a third-time habitual offender.
Anyone who witnessed the crash or with information is asked to call the MSP Lakeview Post at 989.352.8444 or Montcalm County Central Dispatch at 989.831.5253.
“The Greenville community has been amazing as far as their connection to each other and support of one another. It is something you don’t see every day. I want to thank the community for being so vigilant in providing that information to us so that we can follow up on it,” Robinson said.
Jamison’s online obituary recalled him as a “shining light in everything that he did,” emphasizing a “contagious smile and loving heart.” It said he was funny and enjoyed seeing others smile.
In Greenville, businesses such as Image M-Porium are making T-shirts for community members, with a portion of proceeds supporting the impacted families.
In a Facebook post, Greenville Middle School said it is encouraging students to wear their “Jacket Strong” T-shirts — a reference to the school mascot — on the first day of school.
A mother and daughter told News 8 they are creating bracelets with the school colors, donating proceeds back to the affected families.
On Friday, marquees around town read, “Jacket Strong.”
The family declined to speak to News 8 Friday, saying they wish for privacy.
—News 8’s John Hogan, Demetrios Sanders and Taylor Morris contributed to this report.