GREENFIELD — Timothy Hughes told a judge he hasn’t slept in weeks. He closes his eyes but jerks awake, haunted by the memories of the night Carla McCloud died.
The teen accused of striking and killing McCloud while driving drunk said his desperate attempts to sleep, including huffing chemicals to get high, are what landed him in court again Wednesday.
Abusing substances of any kind violated the terms of an agreement that had allowed 18-year-old Hughes to be placed on home detention while awaiting trial for six felonies, including reckless homicide, which he was charged with following the crash in August. On Wednesday, a judge revoked Hughes’ bond, sending him to jail to await trial in January.
Circuit Judge Richard Culver told the court, filled with McCloud’s family and friends, he fears Hughes poses a threat to himself and others. The teen will be held in the Hancock County Jail until his trial Jan. 12.
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Hughes told the judge he had his grandmother take him to Walmart one afternoon in October following a visit to Hancock County Community Corrections, the department charged with monitoring Hughes during his release. While his grandmother waited in the car, he went inside and bought a 12-ounce can of air duster, Hughes said, knowing he’d use it later that night to get high in the hope it would help him stay asleep.
Sobbing, Hughes told Culver he is plagued by guilt.
He was on his way home from an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting when the crash occurred, but police say he was driving with a .28 percent blood alcohol level.
Hughes said he has nightmares about coming up on McCloud and her cousin, Amanda Wheeler, who were cycling along County Road 300S in rural New Palestine that night. His car struck both young women. Wheeler, 22, recovered from her injuries, but McCloud did not survive.
“I wake up screaming, drenched in sweat,” Hughes said.
Hughes broke down in court Wednesday, admitting to allegations brought forward by a community corrections officer who found a can of compressed air sitting next to Hughes’ bed.
“I know I can’t use substances to solve my problems,” he said. “I need to prove myself and show how sorry I am.”
Hughes’ statements brought some comfort to McCloud’s family. Supporters gathered in the courthouse to witness Wednesday’s hearing, wearing matching T-shirts displaying Carla’s name and pins displaying her image.
If thoughts of her daughter keep the young man up at night, so be it, Cindy McCloud said.
Hughes faces charges of 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 injury, operating with a 0.08 percent or higher blood alcohol level causing injury and possession of a narcotic drug. He also has been charged with a one Class C misdemeanor of illegal possession of an alcoholic beverage.
Hughes was a minor at the time of the crash but was waived into adult court on his 18th birthday. His life has been dotted with struggles with substance abuse and run-ins with the law, police said.
He was caught with alcohol at the alternative school he attended and landed in juvenile probation last spring as a result, officials said. He had been enrolled in substance abuse programs, sought medical help for addiction and had attended a Greenfield Alcoholics Anonymous program minutes before the accident occurred, according to court records.
The terms of Hughes’ original $20,000 cash bond called for him to be placed on home detention, wear a GPS monitoring device and undergo screenings for alcohol and drugs during regular visits by corrections officers.
Hughes continued to seek treatment for his addiction in the two months he spent on home detention, his attorney, Jim McNew, said in court Wednesday. Hughes had completed “an intensive psychological outpatient program” at St. Vincent Health in Indianapolis and had met with several other counselors and medical professionals.
But he said he never asked those doctors for help with his sleeping troubles.
McNew asked Culver to allow his client to remain on house arrest because the time would allow the teen to continue his treatment and continue to develop an understanding of his addiction.
“Spending a week in jail hopefully has been a wake-up call for Mr. Hughes,” McNew said in court. “He could have lied when faced with this situation.”
But during his first appearance in court following the accident, Hughes called McCloud’s death his wake-up call. If those lessons didn’t stick, jail is where Hughes needs to be, Cindy McCloud said. Knowing Hughes will be behind bars makes her feel a bit safer and brings her a little comfort, she said.
Her family members, like Tammy Wheeler, mother to crash victim Amanda Wheeler and aunt to Carla McCloud, felt similarly.
“We don’t want another family to go through what we’re going through because he has the opportunity to make another poor choice,” Tammy Wheeler said.