Teen arrested for vehicular homicide
by David Atchison
Feb 15, 2011 | 11128 views |  13 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RIVERSIDE — A 16-year-old girl was arrested after a grand jury indicted her for the vehicular homicide of a Pell City High School student.

Authorities say Tabitha Hawkins of Riverside was arrested last week for the vehicular homicide of Karly Meeks, 17, of Riverside, who was a Pell City High School student at the time of her death.

St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor said Hawkins was indicted by a grand jury that convened in January.

He said the grand jury indicted Hawkins on one count of vehicular homicide, which the indictment states is unlawfully, unintentionally and negligently causing the death of another person.

“She was indicted as an adult pursuant to Alabama law, which states that any juvenile that has attained the age of 16 shall be charged, arrested and tried as an adult for a list of set offenses, including any felonies which have an element of causing death or serious physical injury,” Minor said.

If convicted Hawkins could face up to five years in prison, Minor said.

He said in accordance with state law anyone under the age of 21, charged as an adult, has the right to apply for youthful offender status.

Meeks died from injuries sustained in the Aug. 11, 2010, vehicle accident.

According to earlier reports, Hawkins allegedly lost control of the 1999 Dodge Dakota she was driving along Deer Trace Road, about three miles north of Pell City.

Alabama State Troopers said the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. The accident happened at about 7:15 p.m. that Wednesday.

Meeks was transported by LifeSaver helicopter to University Hospital in Birmingham, but was pronounced dead the following morning.

Shortly after the fatal single-vehicle accident, Corporal Steve Smith, the public information officer for the Alabama State Troopers Birmingham Post, said it appeared speed was the primary cause of the crash.

Hawkins is expected to appear in court for her arraignment Tuesday.