The social media video shows the interior of a car at night. You can hear music thumping and the engine revving. The driver says, (Expletive deleted) gets so nasty! as the camera phone pans down from the road to the speedometer. The car is going 120+mph and appears to be on a Memphis highway. Traveling at the speed of light, baby, the driver shouts over the music. While 120mph is not the speed of light, it is fast enough to kill.
We see them almost every daycars, trucks, and bikes zooming past, weaving in and out of traffic.
City Councilman Worth Morgan told FOX 13, I got passed on Southern Avenue yesterday in oncoming traffic.
When asked when was the last she was zoomed around, District Attorney Amy Weirich said, This morning on the way to 201. I cant think of any street thats immune from it.
During one of her first news conferences, Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis addressed the problem. I was driving to work this morning, and I couldnt believe how fast people drive, she said.
These drivers have a name. Theyre called super speeders, and thats not a compliment.
In Tennessee, a super speeder is anyone going 25 miles per hour or more over the speed limit. The kind of reckless driving that kills.
Brittany... amazing. She was a sweet, kindhearted person. She was always there for everybody and enjoying life, said Kayla Reyes of her cousin, who died in a crash caused by a super speeder in Memphis.
Brittany Arviso was Kayla Reyes cousin. They were very close while growing up together. Kayla was kind of like a sister because Brittany was an only child.
On Jan. 31 at 2:35 a.m., Brittany was on her way home from work. Memphis police say shed just been in a minor accident on I-240 near the Poplar exit. She was sitting in her car, waiting on police, when several witnesses say Jaylen Jackson was driving at a very high rate of speed, weaving in and out of traffic. Police say Jacksons Nissan was going so fast when it slammed into Brittanys Honda, it split the car in two, throwing Brittany out of the car and killing her.
Kayla Reyes is still trying to wrap her mind around what happened. Just stupid. He was just absolutely stupid. There is no sense. I mean, in my eyes, do you know when you see it right, and youre coming up on the wreck he couldnt even slow down? said Reyes.
According to Memphis Police data, there were 790 arrests for reckless driving in Shelby County in 2021. Thats a 31% increase since 2019. According to Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich, there were only 115 convictions for reckless driving last year.
In order for us to convict and prove a case, whether its drag racing or murder, we have to be able to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, said D.A. Weirich. She says thats a tough road for a prosecutor, especially when police in Memphis cant catch a super speeder. If they are going that fast, according to the policy, the police will not pursue them right now.
Memphis City Councilman Worth Morgan wants to change the rules for officers to keep the roads safer. Current MPD policy will not allow an officer to pursue a non-violent suspect without express permission from a supervisor. Councilman Morgan wants to update the non-pursuit policy. He says the cuffs should be taken off the officers on patrol to allow them to get super speeders off the road.
People just arent being held accountable for this kind of driving, said Morgan. FOX 13s Darrell Greene asked, And you think changing the police pursuit policy will change that? To which Morgan replied, Absolutely. Because it gives police officers the ability to hold those drivers accountable for their actions.
According to the district attorney, part of that accountability would include MUCH stiffer punishment. They raised the penalty for drag racing, which is helpful. But raise the penalty for reckless driving. Make it an E felony. Make it something bigger than a B misdemeanor, said Weirich.
Memphis Rep. John Gillespie has proposed new legislation that would reclassify aggravated reckless driving as a Class A felony with a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail.
Kayla Reyes wants the book thrown at Jalen Jackson. For Brittany. And to send a message to other super speeders with no regard for everyone else. Im in disbelief, honestly, because he has eight charges, including one of them to be vehicular homicide, and only has a $20,000 bond. That just doesnt make sense.