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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Vermillion County prosuectuor had no choice about pressing charges, sheriff says

Friday, September 22, 2006

- Aug. 22 crash killed two police officers during charity bike ride



Vermillion County Prosecutor Nina J. Alexander announced Wednesday that no criminal charges would be filed against the truck driver involved in the accident on Aug. 22 that killed two police officers participating in a charity bike ride.

Gary W. Adams of Owensboro, KY, was the driver of the Towne Air Freight truck traveling southbound on State Hwy. 63 in northern Vermillion County that rear-ended the support vehicle for the bicycle trip which was raising money for the survivors of police officer killed in the line of duty.

Retired Lake County Police Chief Gary Martin and Indiana State Police Lt. Gary Dudley died and retired Indianapolis Police Lt. Spencer Moore was seriously injured as a result of the accident.

Alexander cited two Indiana Court of appeals decisions as precedents that "... negligent driving is not the basis for imposing criminal liability, no longer how tragic the outcome."

In her press release, Alexander wrote that Adams was not under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance, had not been continuously driving for longer than federal regulations allow, was not driving at an excessive speed and had no medical problem or indication in his driving history that made him unfit to operate a freight truck.

This left no support that Adams' behavior warranted the filing of criminal charges for reckless homicide.

"We know, as law enforcement officers, that the prosecutor has the ultimate say in filing charges and that they will do what is best," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said. "If the actions do not fit the crime and there is no supporting evidence for the specific charge, there is not much the prosecutor can do."

According to the collision re-constructionist, Adams' truck was traveling approximately 62.7 mph at the time of the accident and the support vehicle was traveling between 16 and 18 mph.

Although Adams has been cleared of criminal charges, there is still the possibility of lawsuits being filed regarding the accident.

"It is still a tragic accident any way you look at it," Heaton said. "Whether if it was a member of the law enforcement community or not, it is still one of those unfortunate situations you hate to see."

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