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Driver charged and arrested in fatal crash that killed 7-year-old in back yard

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- Charges have been filed against the driver who allegedly drove over and killed a 7-year-old who was playing in his back yard in Mishawaka on June 1. She allegedly had THC in her system at the time.

Kayla Bennett, 22, has been charged with one count of causing death when operating a motor vehicle with a schedule I or II controlled substance in the blood, a level 4 felony.

Mishawaka Police were called to a home in the 800 block of W. 6th Street on June 1 to investigate a crash.

When they arrived they found 7-year-old Briyson Councell lying in the yard behind a duplex in critical condition.

There were tire marks and a Lincoln Navigator registered to Bennett in the yard as well, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Councell was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries and died at the hospital. His cause of death was blunt force injury to the head.

During the investigation, officers learned Councell's family lived in one half of the duplex and Bennett lived in the other half.

Several people were interviewed including Councell's 8-year-old sister, his mother and Bennett.

Councell's sister told police she and her brother were playing in the back yard. At one point they were kneeling down on the sidewalk that goes from the alley to the back porch of the house playing in the dirt when she saw the SUV pull into the back yard right towards her and her brother, according to the probable cause affidavit.

She said she was able to get up and out of the way, but her brother couldn't get away and was run over.

The girl said she didn't witness him being run over, but she saw him right after he had been run over, reports said.

Councell's mother told police she had asked Bennett to park in front of the house because her children play in the back. She had mentioned this to Bennett the day before the fatal crash, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Bennett spoke with police and said she drove through the alley to park in the back yard when she realized she ran something over. She thought it was a bike, but looked back and saw the boy on the ground, reports said.

Bennett admitted to police to smoking marijuana the day before, but denied using marijuana that day, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Blood tests sent to a lab showed active and inactive THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in Bennett's system at the time of the crash, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Police also noted there was no driveway in the back of the house.

Bennett was arrested Thursday evening. 

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