(GREENE CO.) - A warrant has been issued for the arrest of 22-year-old Todd Bennett of Linton, on preliminary charges that include reckless homicide after a high-speed crash in January killed one man, seriously injured an Odon woman and left Bennett injured.
Bennett, is accused of reckless driving at a high-rate of speed while intoxicated, causing the crash. He is facing felony charges of reckless homicide, operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in death, operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in serious bodily injury, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury to another person and a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving.
The Greene County Daily World reports, a second warrant was also issued early Thursday for 22-year-old Craig Sullivan, of Worthington, for providing Bennett, a minor, with the alcohol, which resulted in death.
The crash involved three vehicles on State Road 54, just east of County Road 800 West between Switz City and Linton early on January 22.
The driver of one of the vehicles, 55-year-old Phillip K. Reynolds, Jr. of Linton, was killed in the crash. The driver of another vehicle, 48-year-old Lisa Shafer, 48, of Odon, was injured, and the driver of the third vehicle, Bennett, was also injured.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Philip K. Reynolds, Jr. of Linton, had been driving a black Chevrolet pickup truck eastbound. When police arrived they found his vehicle overturned, and Reynolds was pronounced dead on the scene. According to an autopsy performed by Dr. Roland Kohr, Reynolds died from blunt force trauma to the chest, abdomen and extremities. He suffered abrasions, broken ribs, a lacerated liver, ruptured bladder, and numerous broken bones. According to the coroner's office, Reynolds was on his way to work at the time of the crash.
Lisa Shafer, of Odon, had been driving a silver Dodge Avenger westbound. Her vehicle was on its top. She was seriously injured and was transported to Greene County General Hospital.
Todd "Toddy" W. Bennett, of Linton, was found lying in the roadway with serious injuries. Bennett had been ejected through the front passenger window. Police determined he had been driving the third vehicle westbound, a blue four-door Chevrolet pickup truck. Bennett was transported to Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis.
All three vehicles were heavily damaged. The highway was shut down for about eight hours while evidence was gathered.
A search warrant was requested and approved for blood drawn from Bennett and when results were received, they showed Bennett had a BAC well over the legal limit in a test performed approximately four hours and 22 minutes after the crash occurred.
According to police Bennett's truck first hit Shafer's car then Reynolds' truck. Bennett was driving 95 miles per hour at the time of the first crash and that he applied the brake two seconds before crashing into the rear of Shafer's car. He was driving 47 miles per hour when his truck hit Reynolds' truck head-on. The speed of Bennett's truck went up and down in between the two crashes as a result of the tires leaving the roadway surface as the vehicle was spinning around after the first crash.
Data from Shafer's car indicated she was traveling 52-53 miles per hour when she was rear-ended. The car then accelerated to 77 miles per hour due to the force of being hit by a truck going 95. The car traveled at 77 mph for .3 seconds -- until the car impacted with a large tree on the south side of the highway, about nine feet off the ground.
When Shafer was interviewed, she said she was on her way to work when she saw headlights approaching from behind then was rear-ended. She was wearing a seatbelt but the impact caused her to be knocked out of the belt when the seat back collapsed. She landed in the rear passenger compartment and suffered a broken right leg and multiple facial lacerations.
There was a witness to the crash, another driver westbound on her way to work in Linton, who said she had just passed CR 700W when she saw headlights coming up fast from behind and that the blue truck passed her at an excessive speed in a no-passing zone at the crest of a hill. She slowed down as the truck swerved back into her lane in front of her. She said she saw two vehicles approaching and saw vehicles ahead of the blue truck, then saw the blue (Bennett's) truck drift and drive in the center of the highway, appearing to try to pass another vehicle. The next thing she saw were vehicle lights going everywhere, including up in the air and off the south side of the road.
Police say prior to the crash, Bennett had attended a party in Worthington with a couple of friends, at Sullivan's residence. They say Sullivan and another man had purchased a keg of beer on January 21 from a Worthington liquor store and Sullivan had invited friends to the party, including Bennett. The affidavits indicate Bennett was drinking beer and also drinking hard liquor.
According to police who interviewed Sullivan, Bennett's two friends (who were later reported to be walking on SR 67) and others, there were about 15 people at the party and it was suggested to Bennett that he not drive home. When Bennett and his friends left the party, it became very apparent to the two friends that Bennett was too intoxicated to drive.
When interviewed, both talked about Bennett driving in the wrong lane of State Road 67, running stop signs, almost causing numerous crashes, slurring his words and refusing to stop and allow someone else to drive. One said he knew something bad was going to happen and he needed to stop Bennett.
Both friends described how one of them stopped the truck by applying the brake and slamming the truck into park while Bennett kept the gas pedal floored. Once stopped, they said they tried to physically remove Bennett from the driver's seat but were not successful and Bennett drove away leaving them on the roadside. They contacted another friend to pick them up. Police determined the call to their friend for a ride was made approximately seven minutes prior to the crash.
Sullivan is accused of inviting Bennett to the party knowing Bennett was not 21 years of age, and he did not ask Bennett to leave. He allegedly said he did not ask Bennett to leave because Bennett was intoxicated.
According to affidavits, Sullivan admitted he has had numerous other parties that involved underage drinkers.
Dallaire reported that police records show officers were called to Sullivan's residence located at 504 N. Myra St. on December 21, 2013 when there were about 70 people attending, also with underage drinkers, after a complaint was received about underage people making noise and racing vehicles on a wet road. Officers responded from Bloomfield, Jasonville, Lyons and Worthington.
Dallaire concluded his affidavits by saying based on the evidence collected from witnesses, blood test results and evidence from the event data recorders, it was clear Bennett operated a vehicle while intoxicated, and in a reckless manner, and his behavior resulted in the death of Reynolds and serious bodily injury to Shafer.
Dallaire also said that when he interviewed Bennett, he said he did not remember anything about the crash.
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