While providing information about the on-going investigation, Brazil Police Chief Terry Harrison told The Brazil Times Tuesday that, "I really believe, and hospital officials made reference to is as well, that if the Patrolman Jeremy Mace had not stopped this car, the teenager would have died."
Around 2 a.m., Mace stopped a speeding vehicle near the intersection of State Road 59 and United States 40. While questioning the driver and passenger, Mace was informed they were speeding because a third individual in the backseat was "very sick."
"They told the officer they were taking him to a friend's house," Harrison said. "If they would have done that, he probably would have died."
TransCare took the unresponsive 19-year-old to St. Vincent Clay Hospital, who was later airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital. Drug tests confirmed the patient consumed undisclosed amounts of marijuana and prescription drugs.
The driver and the front-seat passenger admitted to police officers they had consumed various illegal substances, including methamphetamine, while partying.
In an attempt to gather information by questioning both passengers, Mace took the unidentified front-seat passenger to St. Vincent Clay Hospital. The front-seat passenger later fled on foot for unknown reasons, but Harrison said officers are following up leads on the suspect's whereabouts.
Brazil resident Kevin T. Wheeler, 19, the driver, was arrested on preliminary charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated under the influence of a controlled substance and disorderly conduct. Awaiting formal arraignment in court, jail officials confirmed that Wheeler remained incarcerated on a $700 bond as of press time.
The case is currently under review by the Clay County Prosecutor's Office for further potential charges for the individuals involved.
Harrison said this incident is a reminder of how drugs impact the community.
"There is an epidemic of drugs in our community. It's a sad situation to see, but as law enforcement officers we know these types of things are going on all the time," Harrison said. "It is also amazing the level of ignorance about the potential consequences that can happen from drug use, this teenager could have died."