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Prosecutor unsure if charges will be filed

Monday, November 19, 2007

Released from Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis sometime Sunday, it is unclear what lies ahead for a Brazil teenager involved in a fatal traffic accident Saturday.

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter was at the accident scene at the Clay/Putnam County line where Brandee N. Siples, 17, Brazil, died after her boyfriend, Cody Wright, 18, Brazil, crashed a 1992 Chevrolet Camaro during a high-speed pursuit with Indiana State Police Saturday.

Unable to comment on whether Wright will be charged, Bookwalter told The Brazil Times Monday that he plans to review the details of the completed Indiana State Police investigation.

"I deal with cases like this two to three times a year and they are always a tragedy," Bookwalter, a parent of three children, said.

"Teenagers driving reckless are every parents worst nightmare."

Bookwalter said the most curious part of this case is the reason why Wright was driving in excess of 100 mph before contact with the two ISP troopers who attempted to perform a traffic stop.

Around 10:40 a.m., Saturday morning, Wright, 18, was "clocked" at 117 mph in a posted 45 mph speed zone near Putnamville and then further west on United States 40 at 129 mph near the Clay/Putnam County line by two separate Indiana State Police troopers. Wright even passed one fully marked ISP vehicle.

Traveling south on County Road 500 East (CR 900 West in Putnam County) at speeds approximately 85-90 mph on the numerous rolling hills of the two-lane blacktop road, Wright lost control of his vehicle when he topped a small hill and went off the east side of the road.

The vehicle went up an embankment and became airborne for a distance of approximately 45 feet, striking several trees along the way and landing on its wheels in a 20-foot deep ravine.

"Everyone at the scene was greatly affected by the senseless death of this young woman," Bookwalter said.

In similar accidents of this type, Bookwalter said other drivers have been charged for their bad decisions although they might not have intended for anyone get hurt.

"When a young life is extinguished, all their hopes and dreams are gone. It is a serious matter when a reckless driver is involved in an accident that takes the life of another human being," he said. "I take these types of cases very serious."

Two charges a driver could face for this type of incident include a class C felony charge of reckless homicide (punishable by 2-8 years) and class B felony charge of resisting law enforcement resulting in death (punishable by 6-20 years).

Bookwalter will not determine if Wright will be charged until after reviewing the Indiana State Police accident report, which is expected to be completed on or before Wednesday.

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I am sure that any punishment that the law (if they decide to) can/will give this young man, could never compare to the mental punishment that he will receive from himself for the rest of his life! It is a shame that this had to happen! Too many young people do not take responsibility seriously! God bless all the family involved on all sides!

-- Posted by Southernized on Mon, Nov 19, 2007, at 10:41 PM

this is a terrible thing that has happend. my heart goes out to family and friends. i could never imagine losing my children but in reality it happends more often than we'd like. I just would like to say what a wonderful mother that Brandee had. i read on wthi.com how she stated that she did not want people blaming the boyfriend that it was truly an accident. i think that takes a lot of courage and you really have a big heart. i read some post and yes everyone wants this kid in prison and all of this stuff. I am very sad by whathappend and no I don't think anyone should run from the police but this probably was a game that turned tragic. I remember when i was a teenager we'd go flying down 42 how dumb was that? but you don't think about ever dying. as silly as it sounds an 18 yo with a camero the reason he probably had it was to drive fast. this probably was not the first time it happend. and if he would have gotten pulled over he would have been in jail so maybe he thought he could get away and wasn't rationalizing his behavior. I don't know about you but how many times do we all try avoiding a ticket we're speeding see a cop and put on our brakes. I know people who have tried to out run the law. it's a crazy game but maybe to kids it was a fun game. My heart goes out to this kid yes i know by law he is considered an adult but at 18 we still only think we know more than we do. no matter what happens to this kid he will always carry with him scars of killing what probably was his first love. his life too is forever changed by a poor decisionn that he made. I know it was wrong what happened and should have never been speeding like that to begin with and this could have been prevented but how many of you take risk and most of the time when it's over you laugh cause you got one over on something or someone? I don't know if you would take it this far but we all were onry to some degree when we are young, and unfortunatley this guy won't be able to laugh when he tells his kidshow he ditched the law. I fell terrible for everyone involved. I try to see both sides but honestly I don't know how I'd react if it were my daughterr. Mrs. siples you truly are a blessing. this guy needs you to support him you already know how many people are judging him andf he faces a long legal battle I am sure. nothing can ever =change what happen but I hope that you will continue to stick by this kid and be understanding to him; I am very sure if he could go back he would but he can't your daughter I am sure is in a very much nicer place. I'm sure his family is very hurt also I just pray that God is with all of you through this.

-- Posted by ape1 on Tue, Nov 20, 2007, at 9:56 AM

The mental punishment I believe is going to have a tremendous affect on this individual. I am also sure that the law will never compare to that. But, the law has to have some type of punishment in this case. When you're given the responsibly you are trusted with many lives, it's how serious you handle that responsibility. God truly Bless all the families involved in this weekends events.

-- Posted by OntheRight08 on Tue, Nov 20, 2007, at 9:57 AM

I agree this young man will have the mental punishment for the rest of his life; however, there needs to be legal consequences as well. His age should not be a factor. If a 45-year-old male had done this, he, without a doubt, would be prosecuted. The prosecutor should also look at this young man's driving record. Is there a history of reckless driving or excessive speeding? If so, then action must be taken. I feel for his parents and extended family members, his actions will haunt them for the rest of their lives. I feel too for this young man but there is no excuse for his blatant disregard for the precious life he has extinquished or for the law enforcement officiers who were trying to stop him. Had his stopped, this tragedy may not have occurred and her family would not be suffering as they are today.

-- Posted by opinion on Tue, Nov 20, 2007, at 10:49 AM

It's sad to think something this TRAGIC needs to happen before kids will slow down and remember this life isn't just about THEM. How incredibly sorry I am for the SIPLE family .. I can't begin to imagine your pain.

While I don't know these kids personally, I do know someone who has witnessed the regularity of Cody's lead foot on county roads.

Do I believe Cody intended to hurt Brandee? Heavens no! Do I believe this was an accident? No, I do not. Nor do I believe it was a "game" to outrun the police. I believe Cody was afraid to get caught. I just want to know if he felt like whatever he was hiding was worth the price Brandee paid for his selfishness?

He knew the speed he was going. Like it or not, he also knew (common sense) what could happen if he lost control at that speed. Not getting caught (obviously) meant more to him than his own life and the life of his passenger. THAT is sad. What gave him the right to endanger HER life or the life of another innocent?

I have a son (20) and I do not BEGIN to believe self-punishment is all this situation deserves. There is a delicate balance in place. If Cody wants to make this "right" with all parties involved (including himself) .. step up, be a man and accept the punishment that fits the crime. It's the reason the law was written.

-- Posted by Emmes on Tue, Nov 20, 2007, at 10:52 AM

Unfortunatley this is a sad situation. My prayers go out to all involved. Both sides have payed a terrible price. It amazes me how many young people have these High Horse Power sport cars!I personally do not believe teenagers this young are ready for that type of responsibilty

-- Posted by SmallTown on Tue, Nov 20, 2007, at 8:11 PM

While the driver may be sorry he has committed a crime. Never will sorry bring back the girl but punishment may prevent another tragedy. Maybe not by him but even as a lesson to others, hand out the harshest possible punishment and place it in every paper, on every TV channel and blast it from the radio. I will bet if you checked his driving record he may not have killed before but you would find this isn't the first for him. This is sad all around but could have been avoided.

-- Posted by Trying hard on Wed, Nov 21, 2007, at 12:00 PM

I totally agree with you hd_in_va. The cops should of backed off The chase lasted plenty long enough for them to get a good Identification. It is horrible to think that this whole accident could've been avoided with something as simple as not receiving a ticket. Now because this has happened a 17 year old girl has lost her life and an 18 year old boy ended up in the hospital. But, it is still stupid that this 18 year old boy still had his license. This guy has had suspended licenses, many traffic tickets for speeding and yet he still got to keep his license after multiple warnings. This should've been dealt with way before there was an accident. There is only one person I blame for Brandee's death and that is him. He knew what he was doing he was putting Brandees life in danger whether he killed her on purpose or not. I hope he will take this as a learning experience. God bless you all and Happy Thanksgiving.

-- Posted by NorthviewGirl on Wed, Nov 21, 2007, at 11:17 PM

A sad story that has been repeated too many times. It is heartwrenching.Some young people make mistakes that will effect the rest of their lives ,but if handled properly by authorities it can possibly prevent this tragedy from repeating itself more times than if let go. I'm not saying make an example of this young man but do not exactly show a lot of leniency.1)He was speeding out of control before the accident,2)Eluded police officers,3)Risked a high speed chase with someone he cared about in the car with him rather than face a penalty.Follow the law but also make it a positive for the victim's family and this young man.One condition should be that he give speeches to other young people about the hazards of wreckless driving.What better reality than for him to rlive it once a week, or day even.Probably more beneficial to him and the young people he shares his horrible experience than just locking him up.My condolences to the family of the young girl and my sorrow for that young man.

-- Posted by canicus13 on Fri, Nov 23, 2007, at 9:05 AM

Brandee was my cousin. I miss her terribly, but I do not feel they have any reason to punish Cody. I knew him pretty well, and I know that he would have never hurt her, and that her parent's request to not have charges pressed should be taken into more authority, considering it is their daughter that is gone. I have read a lot of false information concerning all of this, and it is all information that the state police are saying, but it is not true. I have nothing against the state police, but I really want people to get their facts straight before they try to put this innocent man in jail.

-- Posted by Morgan_x on Tue, Dec 4, 2007, at 11:45 PM

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