Driver indicted in crash that killed 2

INDIANAPOLIS — By the time Jordan Stafford tried to swerve, it was too late.

That’s what his mother said after a grand jury decided Stafford, 23, should be held responsible for the death of two construction workers.

On Thursday, a Marion County grand jury issued an indictment for Stafford, a Fortville native, charging him with four Class C felonies, including two counts of reckless operation in a highway work zone and two counts of failure to obey a traffic control device, according to a news release from the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.

The grand jury determined Stafford “recklessly operated a vehicle in the immediate vicinity of a highway work zone … which resulted in the death” of Kenneth Duerson Jr., 49, of Indianapolis and Coty Demoss, 24, of Noblesville, while Stafford was driving in a construction zone on Interstate 69 in May 2014.

Stafford’s mother, Marcie Stafford, who serves as Fortville clerk-treasurer, said her son did what he could to avoid the crash.

“The skid marks make that clear,” Stafford said between sobs Thursday afternoon after learning about the charges.

Jordan Stafford was southbound on I-69 just a few miles north of Interstate 465 when he crashed into a sign directing traffic out of the lane, police said. Duerson and Demoss were standing alongside the road working to remove the sign and reopen the lane after overnight paving, police said.

Both workers were killed, and Jordan Stafford suffered non-life-threatening injuries and later underwent surgery to repair a dislocated hip.

Indiana State Police officers, Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration each conducted investigations into the crash. Reports were turned over to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

A warrant has been issued for Jordan Stafford’s arrest, according to court records; it was unclear at press time whether he had been taken into custody.

In a news release, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said, “Complex circumstances in the crash investigation extended the length of the investigation and ultimately resulted in a decision to present the case to the grand jury for a charging determination.”

Indiana law makes all evidence and testimony presented to the grand jury confidential, and no other information was released.

Marcie Stafford said she had not spoken with her son since news of the charges were released. Thursday afternoon, she was unaware of his whereabouts, she said.

An initial hearing is anticipated for next week, prosecutors said.

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