Father of teen killed in double-fatal crash now facing several charges

Father of teen killed in double-fatal crash now facing several charges

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Just a day after sharing a heartfelt message to reporters about the violent death of his 19-year-old daughter, Brian James was arrested on multiple charges.

James’ daughter, Brooklyn James, was killed when the car she was riding in slammed into a utility pole following a police chase Thursday in Jefferson County, Ind.

Eighteen-year-old Tyler Cooley also was killed in the crash. The driver of the car, 18-year-old Blake Coombs, was rushed to University Hospital and is still fighting for his life.

Monday, the Jefferson County (Ind.) Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement indicating that Brian James was arrested Saturday.

Brooklyn James was one of two people killed in Thursday's crash that ended following a chase with police in Madison, Ind.
Brooklyn James was one of two people killed in Thursday's crash that ended following a chase with police in Madison, Ind. (Source: Family photo)

"Over the weekend ... Brian James ... encountered law enforcement and gave a verbal indication to officers that he was a danger to himself and others. While at the Sheriff’s Department, Mr. James was arrested on a warrant issued for a domestic incident that is alleged to have occurred on October 29, 2019 involving (his wife) Jackie James and Brooklyn James ... The arrest warrant for Mr. James was issued on November 1, 2019. Mr. James was detained on the outstanding warrant on January 11, 2020, for his personal safety, the safety of others, and to begin the process of resolving the case.

“Further information from law enforcement indicates that following the crash, Mr. James made several posts on social media, including a photograph of a gun and others in which references were made to potentially killing Blake Coombs and harming himself and law enforcement. Due to his criminal history, Mr. James is prohibited from possessing firearms. New charges are anticipated for these actions.”

Also included in the prosecutor’s report was an incident report from the Jefferson County (Ind.) Sheriff’s Office, detailing the events from October, where James is accused of chasing his daughter around their home with a knife and threatening to kill both his wife and daughter.

For that incident, James has been charged with Domestic Battery, two counts of Criminal Confinement, Interference with Reporting Crime and two counts of Intimidation.

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The statement from the prosecutor’s office also included details about what preceded Thursday’s police chase. Coombs was being investigated for a possible theft of a vehicle, and he and Cooley were suspects in a burglary in which power tools and a television were reported to have been stolen. Investigators found power tools “and the remnants of a television” were found at the scene of the deadly crash, the statement said.

Not knowing Coombs was behind the wheel, a Madison police officer tried to initiate a traffic stop, but Coombs allegedly “fled in the vehicle from the officer before crashing the vehicle west of Madison,” according to the statement. The vehicle Coombs was driving at that time was not the vehicle he is accused of stealing. It’s not clear which violation Coombs may have committed that warranted the traffic stop.

Brian James has been openly critical of the way law enforcement has handled the pursuit and investigation.

“There has to come a time where you make a choice of whose life are you going to choose,” he told WAVE 3 News on Friday. "Get 'em another day. Like I said, if they didn’t rob a bank, if they didn’t kill no one, if they just had a broken taillight and you got their license plate number, what couldn’t they go to the house tomorrow or that night?”

James had a court hearing Monday morning. He also told WAVE 3 News his wife was scheduled to have a tumor removed Tuesday in Indianapolis.

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