The family of an Alabama teen who died after police chased a vehicle she was riding in seconds after superiors called off the pursuit is demanding answers.
Kailyn Draine’s relatives believe police are to blame for the fatal crash that led to her demise. However, authorities say they abandoned the pursuit and drove up to the accident seconds later. The driver has been charged in connection to Draine’s death.
On Dec. 4, the Mobile Police Department attempted to pull over a Toyota Camry, reportedly for not having the proper tag. It was filled with four young people in the early morning hours after the friends finished a late night of studying for an upcoming exam.
Draine, 19, was one of four Black youths in the car, and her family says their race made them fearful of being stopped because of the distrust many Black people have for police. The driver, Jh’isaiah Franklin, 18, didn’t stop and instead drove off, according to an interview with My NBC 15.
This prompted a chase by MPD. After crossing from Mobile City into another jurisdiction, the City of Prichard, some five miles away, those officers received an official order to retreat.
Authorities also have said the chase was called off because of “weather conditions and speed,” according to assistant police chief William Jackson. “About 45 seconds after it was discontinued, the officers drove up on the accident,” said Jackson. “They didn’t know it had occurred.”
According to investigators, the driver lost control of the vehicle and ultimately crashed into a tree. The impact of the collision caused Draine to be ejected from the vehicle.
18-year-old Jaylin Alexander and 21-year-old Charity Mills were transported to the hospital.
Franklin has since been charged with an attempt to elude, resulting in death and homicide by vehicle, according to WRBL.
Draine’s relatives say they’re “not trying to make the police department look bad,” but Lillie Mancarella, Kailyn’s aunt, said, “We as adults get scared when we get pulled over so you think a child would not be scared also.”
She added, “Yes, they’re going to be scared, and no, they don’t always make the right decisions, but they’re making the decision they think is right at the time.”
Draine’s bereaved mother, Kenyatta McAlpine, and other family members have been in contact with law enforcement and say the police have been uncooperative.
“It feels like that they are treating her like she was a criminal. None of those kids in the car were criminals,” says McAlpine.
Annette Johnson, Draine’s grandmother, said she got the call from the police. “They were saying that it was an accident and that some of the kids were taken to the hospital,” she said.
Law enforcement gave the family Draine’s shoes and her broken glasses, but has not released her phone, purse, or other belongings from the car.
McAlpine wants the material items, but not more than she wants answers.
“Why didn’t you guys allow Prichard to deal with the case instead if that really happened?” asks McAlpine. “I need answers. I want to know what’s going on. I’m not going to keep saying I need answers. I’m going to get answers.”
Atlanta Black Star has reached out to the Mobile Police Department and the Prichard City Police Department.
MPD said its incident report is unavailable to the public, requiring a subpoena for review, but no accident report was completed. Mobile’s law enforcement said details regarding the incident cannot be shared because the investigation is still ongoing. Because the accident happened in Prichard City, the PCPD has an accident report but not an incident report. It was not available by publishing time on Tuesday afternoon.
The family said Draine wanted to join the U.S. Navy one day and was planning to start Bishop State Community College in Mobile, Alabama, this month.