9-year-old dies in crash after driver falls asleep behind the wheel

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Department is investigating a deadly crash in Orange Mound early Sunday morning.

Police were called to the scene on Spottswood Avenue and Goodwyn Street where a car hit a tree.

Three children were injured in the crash and taken to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. Two of the children are in non-critical condition. Nine-year-old Jaliya Lewis died from her injuries.

Police said the children were unrestrained in the back seat of the vehicle and were thrown to the front seat when the crash occurred.

The driver, Racqual Conner, told investigators she fell asleep behind the wheel.

A friend of the family said Conner is the mother of the Jaliya Lewis, and that Lewis was an aspiring child model. The friend, who asked not to be identified, said she always saw Conner being a wonderful mother.

"It's really sad. And when they told me it was her and I heard about it, I said 'oh, my gosh. She's a sweet mother. She takes care of them kids.' That's why I couldn't understand. Like, what happened?" the friend said.

Conner was also injured in the crash and was taken to the hospital for treatment. When police came by to test her for a DUI, Conner was sedated by hospital staff.

She is charged with criminally negligent homicide, driving with a suspended license, and three counts of violation of the child restrain law.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.