News Sections
Driver That Killed Newburgh Family Had Been Drinking Heavily On IU Campus
Updated November 22, 2016 4:34 PM | Filed under: Crime
 Print    Archive    RSS
iu student.jpeg

(BLOOMFIELD) - A teen accused of causing three deaths in a wreck along Interstate 69 this month had been drinking heavily on the Indiana University campus, according to an arrest affidavit.

The crash killed three members of the Rinehart family of Newburgh, and injured a fourth as their car sat disabled alongside the highway.

According to court records, 19-year-old Mason Hartke was being held on a $60,000 bond, he has since bonded out of jail. Bloomington Attorney Samuel Shapiro will be representing him. He filed a motion to allow Hartke to leave the state to attend college. Greene County Superior Court Judge Dena Martin granted that request. His initial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 8 at 8:30 a.m.

According to the affidavit, Hartke, of Jasper, Indiana, was visiting friends in Bloomington for the weekend before he tried to return home to Dubois County in the early hours of Nov. 13.

Hartke didn't make it.

Instead, his truck veered off the road and slammed into the Rineharts' Honda Civic. David Rinehart, 46; Ruth Ann Rinehart, 74; and Sophie Rinehart, 17, all died in the crash. David Rinehart was a pastor at Crossroads Christian Church, and Sophie Rinehart was a student at Castle High School. Josie Rinehart, 18, survived injuries sustained in the wreck.

Indiana State Police announced Saturday that Hartke had been arrested in connection with the crash. He faces three counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death and three counts of reckless homicide. Hartke, who broke his arm in the crash, turned himself in Saturday and was released that afternoon after posting bond, according to Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw.

Hartke is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 8 at 8:30 a.m. in Greene Superior Court, Holtsclaw told the Courier & Press. The affidavit was released Monday. A phone number listed for Hartke's Jasper address in court records is no longer a working line, and there is no attorney listed for Hartke in court records.

Hartke, whose blood-alcohol level was reportedly tested at almost 0.16 percent more than two hours after the crash, told state police investigators he believed he had fallen asleep at the wheel. Investigators later confirmed that it did not appear that Hartke tried to brake before his 2006 Chevrolet Colorado truck hit the Rinehart car.

Police estimated the truck was going about 76 mph when it hit the Civic.

It is unclear how much time had elapsed between the time the Rinehart vehicle hit the deer and when it was stuck by Hartke's truck. But, according to the affidavit, state police were notified of a vehicle striking a deer at 3:22 a.m., and by the time a trooper went to the scene at 3:59 a.m., the collision involving Hartke's truck had already occurred.

Both Josie Rinehart and Mason Hartke were trying to crawl out of their vehicles when the trooper arrived, investigators wrote in the affidavit. The crash happened near the Mile Marker 103 on I-69.

Hartke reportedly told state police investigators that he had been at IU before the crash visiting some friends. The investigator noted he could still smell alcohol on Hartke's breath at the time of the interview -- more than three hours after the crash -- and that Hartke's eyes were still red and glassy.

Law enforcement conducted interviews with several people who were with Hartke the night before the crash who said they all went to a party on Nov. 12 after the IU football game. That party went until about 1 to 2 a.m., according to friends. Those friends reportedly told investigators that Hartke was drinking both before the party in a dorm room and at the party. One person described Hartke as "really drunk" when the group left the party. Hartke and others also were drinking before the football game, as well, investigators wrote in the affidavit.

One friend said he and Hartke were awake at about 3 a.m., on Sunday and that Hartke then started talking about going home to Jasper. He said that the two of them went separately to a Steak 'n Shake before Hartke drove away from Bloomington. That person told investigators he had concerns about Hartke driving at the time.

According to court records this is not Hartke's first run-in with law enforcement involving alcohol this year. On June 18, the teen was cited for possession of alcohol by a minor by a state excise officer while at a concert at the Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana.

According to the affidavit in that case, the excise officer reportedly saw Hartke drink and asked for proof of age. At the time, the officer noted that Hartke had a "strong odor of alcoholic beverages coming from his breath" and was slurring his words to the officer.

In that case, the officer made Hartke dump out other alcoholic beverages from a cooler. The contents included whiskey and about two cases of beer, but Hartke was not arrested at the time. Instead, the excise officer issued him a summons, according to the affidavit. Court records indicate Hartke was put into a diversion program for the incident.

« Previous Article
Next Article »

 Print    Archive    RSS

Have a question or comment about a news story? Send it to

Advertise with 1340 AM WBIW
Find more about Weather in Bedford, IN
Advertise with 1340 AM WBIW

1340 AM WBIW, Bedford's Place To Talk. Serving Lawrence and surrounding counties since 1948!

© 2019 Ad-Venture Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. and Listen Live Powered by HPC

Advertise  |  Careers  |  Contests  |  About  |  Feedback  |  Public File