STANTON — A Belding woman charged with a fatal hit and run allegedly told police she knew she hit something, but she didn’t know what it was until she saw news headlines the following morning.
Brandy Sue Jones, 40, who is currently on parole for a meth-related conviction, was arrested Thursday and arraigned Friday in Montcalm County District Court. She was ordered to be held on a bond of $1 million. She was allegedly drinking alcohol the night of the hit and run and she allegedly tested positive for meth the following day.
Jones is charged with one count of failure to stop at a crash when at fault causing death and two counts of failure to stop at a crash when at fault causing serious impairment. She also faces a habitual offender notice meaning she could face up to 30 years prison if convicted.
Jones allegedly struck three teenage boys around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday on Wise Road near West County Line Road in Eureka Township and she allegedly did not stop after the incident or report the incident to police. Jones had allegedly been drinking alcohol the night of the incident.
The hit and run resulted in the death of Jamison Lafferty, 14, at the scene. Two other teen boys were also struck and injured — Zieke Rauch, 14, suffered two broken ankles and a 13-year-old boy suffered multiple injuries including a broken pelvis (Rauch’s mother has posted a public update about her son on Facebook, but the Daily News is not naming the 13-year-old at this time).
Jones was emotional as she appeared for her arraignment via video from the Montcalm County Jail in Montcalm County District Court. She cried as she answered questions from Magistrate Brian Wagner, and she later appeared to become defiant.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Villet requested a bond of no less than half a million dollars, noting that Jones is currently on a parole hold.
“Ms. Jones attempted to hide the evidence of the offense afterwards,” Villet said. “She’s on parole, she met with her parole officer the next day and tested positive for methamphetamine. She is a clear danger to the community.”
Jones shook her head at this statement and declared, “The car was at my house where it belonged.”
“Ms. Jones, please don’t talk right now,” her attorney Public Defense Administrator Matthew Nave cautioned her.
“This is retarded,” Jones declared, crossing her arms.
The magistrate set Jones’ bond at $1 million, saying, “The gravity of these offenses are serious. There was a loss of life and two serious injuries.”
Jones placed her face in her hands and began sobbing when she heard the amount of her bond.
When the magistrate asked Jones if she understood the conditions of her bond, she responded, “No, I don’t. I’m done with it. I can’t …”
Jones turned away from the court camera and began sobbing. The brief court hearing then adjourned.
According to MSP Det. Sgt. Brad Hetherington, who requested a probable cause warrant on Friday morning, police received multiple tips regarding the hit and run. Multiple car parts were recovered at the scene of the incident, including blue-purple paint chips and a grill emblem, which helped police determine that the car in question was a late ‘90s or early 2000s VW Jetta.
“A tip was received that Brandy Jones, who lives on Eureka Street, was out drinking the night of the crash and was driving a bluish-purple Jetta,” Hetherington testified. “The vehicle was registered to a Pamela Sue Burns” (who is Jones’ mother).
Based on tips, police visited a home on Dickerson Lake Road in Gowen, where they found a heavily damaged blue-purple VW Jetta parked back in the woods away from the driveway. Police determined the car had been dropped off at the Gowen residence on Thursday morning. The car’s front grill was missing and its rear window was smashed out.
Police then located Jones at a residence on Eureka Street in Greenville and interviewed her.
“She admitted to being involved in a crash on Tuesday night while on Wise Road,” Hetherington testified. “She admitted she was the driver of the vehicle and the lone occupant. She advised that she hit something but she did not know what it was. She said she found out what she hit the next day when she saw the news and learned it was three teenagers.”
According to Hetherington, Jones has previous convictions on her record for possession of meth and delivery of meth in Montcalm County in 2020. According to Michigan Department of Corrections records, Jones was released from prison on supervision this past March and is currently on parole.
According to his obituary, Jamison Lafferty was “a shining light in everything he did” and he had “a contagious smile and loving heart. He loved Jesus, his family and all his wonderful friends. Jamison could always make you laugh and he would do anything to see somebody smile. He loved sports and was an amazing teammate.”
Lafferty is survived by his parents, Justin and Aleeson Lafferty, his sister Karlee, his “best dog” Bolt and many other family members and friends.
Funeral arrangements for Lafferty are scheduled for 3 p.m. on Aug. 15 at Greenville Community Church, with visitation from 1 to 3 p.m. prior.
Speaking during a press conference from the MSP Sixth District Headquarters in Grand Rapids, Lt. Michelle Robinson delivered a statement just moments prior to Jones’ arraignment in Montcalm County.
“On behalf of the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post troopers and detectives, our hearts are broken on the loss of life and injuries that occurred on Tuesday night,” she said. “We advocate for the families involved as well as members of the community and recognize that while our hearts are broken, we still have a job to do and a responsibility to make sure that every piece of evidence and every fact is brought to light.”
While Robinson declined to give specifics about the case, she did thank the Greenville community for its efforts in both providing tips to the department, as well as rallying around the victims of the incident.
“Three days from the time of incident, the detectives, I know, have worked very, very hard on this case so we can bring justice to the families,” she said. “The Greenville community has been amazing as far as their connection to each other and supporting one another. It’s something that you don’t see every day, so I do want to thank the community for being so vigilant in providing that information to us so we can follow up on it.”