Reckless homicide among charges for teen driver

GREENFIELD — A teenage driver who police say struck and killed one bicyclist and injured another Tuesday night while drunk behind the wheel faces a charge of reckless homicide as officials weigh whether he should be prosecuted as an adult.

On Thursday, the 17-year-old — whose name has not been released — appeared before Hancock Circuit Court Judge Richard Culver, who decided the boy should remain in a juvenile detention facility pending another hearing, said Wayne Addison, the county’s chief probation officer.

Juvenile proceedings are closed to the public.

Officials still are trying to determine if the teen should be waived to adult court to face criminal charges, but Prosecutor Brent Eaton said his office has filed a number of juvenile counts against the teen in the meantime.

They include: reckless homicide; operating while intoxicated causing death; operating with a 0.08 percent or higher blood-alcohol level causing death; operating while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury; operating with a 0.08 percent or higher blood-alcohol level causing injury.

Juvenile charges are treated much the same as adult criminal charges but kept confidential and handled by the county’s juvenile probation department.

The accident occurred in the 4300 block of West County Road 300S around 9 p.m. Tuesday, police said. The teen was headed west, and the cyclists were riding in the same direction when he hit them, injuring both riders, police said. There is no lane designated for bicyclists in the area or a shoulder to the road.

The speed limit in the area is 45 mph; police said they aren’t sure how fast the driver was going. The driver had a blood alcohol level was 0.28 percent at the time of the accident, police said.

Carla McCloud, 22, of New Palestine, was taken by medical helicopter to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, where she succumbed to injuries Wednesday afternoon after spending hours on life support.

Prosecutors met with probation department leaders and police before making a final decision about what charges — formally referred to as delinquency petitions when minors are involved — to bring against the teen.

Prosecutors may recommend to the court the defendant be charged as an adult, but a judge will have the final say about the teen’s status, Eaton said.

Many of the details of the crash are still under investigation, sheriff’s Capt. Robert Campbell said: Investigators are working to reconstruct the crash site in an effort to determine how fast the driver was going and whether or not he slowed down before hitting the two riders.

The teen stopped at the scene after the accident; multiple people called 911, but investigators were unsure whether the driver was among them.

Investigators also are trying to find out how the teen got his hands on alcohol. Tim Retherford, executive director of Neighborhoods Against Substance Abuse, which operates the county’s Underage Drinking Task Force, said the group was not alerted to any parties in the area Tuesday night.

Retherford said he was disappointed to hear about the accident, adding the county has worked hard to keep incidents like these from happening.

The teen is being held at a juvenile detention facility in Muncie. He is expected to return to court Wednesday for a hearing. Attorney Jim McNew was appointed Thursday to represent the defendant; McNew did not return a call for comment.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or