Fortville native to stand trial in Marion County

GREENFIELD — A Marion County jury will decide next week whether a Fortville man should be held criminally responsible for the deaths of two construction workers killed along Interstate 69 in 2014.

Jordan Stafford, 24, of Fortville, will stand trial in Indianapolis on four Class C felonies accusing him of driving recklessly in a construction zone and killing two men working in the area.

Stafford’s case will be argued in Marion County Superior Court, Criminal Division 3, starting Monday at 9 a.m., said Peg McLeish, a spokeswoman for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. Judge Sheila Carlisle will oversee the trial, which is open to the public, court records show.

A grand jury issued an indictment for Stafford in November, charging him with two counts of reckless driving in a highway work zone and two counts of failure to obey a traffic control device, officials said.

Police say the pickup truck Stafford was driving around 5:45 a.m. May 9 struck and killed Kenneth Duerson Jr., 49, of Indianapolis and Coty Demoss, 24, of Noblesville, who were standing alongside the road at the time of the accident.

Stafford was headed southbound on I-69, a few miles north of Interstate 465, when he crashed into a sign directing traffic out of the lane he was using, police said.

Duerson and Demoss were working to remove the sign and reopen the lane after paving overnight, police said.

Both workers were killed. Stafford was treated at an Indianapolis hospital, where he underwent surgery to repair a dislocated hip, family members told the Daily Reporter at the time of the accident.

Police do not believe Stafford was impaired.

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

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry turned the case over to a grand jury to determine whether or not charges would be filed against Stafford.

Indiana law makes all evidence and testimony presented to the grand jury confidential; Curry announced the findings in November.

A warrant was issued in Marion County for Stafford’s arrest. He was taken into custody by Hancock County Sheriff’s deputies, transferred to an Indianapolis correctional facility and later released on a $60,000 surety bond, court records show.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office declined to share details of the state’s case against Stafford.

Stafford is represented by Courtney Benson-Kooy with the Marion County Public Defender Office. She did not return calls for comment.

Each of the charges Stafford faces is a Class C felony; each charge carries a penalty of two to eight years.

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