Teen driver charged in crash that killed Clinton County sisters to be tried as adult, appeals court rules
CLINTON COUNTY, Ind. – A teenager accused of crashing her car into a home and killing two sisters in Clinton County will be tried as an adult.
An appeals court ruled Monday that Alia Sierra will face charges as an adult for the July 2017 crash that killed 17-year-old Haleigh Fullerton and 8-year-old Callie Fullerton. Her attorneys had filed an appeal challenging the decision to waive the case from juvenile to adult court.
Police said Sierra was high on opiates at the time of the crash, but Sierra’s attorneys argued that further drug tests came back negative. The judge said that didn’t matter and decided to try her as an adult because the juvenile system doesn’t provide enough options for treatment or consequences.
Police arrested Sierra after her car crashed into the living room where the sisters were watching TV. They were pinned underneath the car and died from their injuries. Their mother was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries.
Investigators said Sierra was going more than 100 miles an hour when she lost control of the car. Other teens in the vehicle told police they repeatedly asked her to slow down.
Sierra’s attorneys wanted her tried as a juvenile, citing her grades, her job, her lack of a criminal record and the negative drug test as factors. However, the court said photos on her phone showed a history of drug abuse. The court also noted that after a friend died in a drunk driving accident, Sierra didn’t change her lifestyle.
Charges she would face as an adult include two counts of reckless homicide, two counts of causing death while operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance in the blood, two counts of causing death while operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, causing serious bodily injury while operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, causing serious bodily injury while operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in the body, criminal recklessness and criminal mischief.
Now 18 years old, Sierra is set for a pretrial on Aug. 16. Her trial is scheduled for Sept. 24.