Driver found guilty in construction workers’ deaths

cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com

INDIANAPOLIS — A Fortville man will return to a Marion County court next month for sentencing after being found guilty in the deaths of two construction workers killed in a 2014 crash in Indianapolis.

Jordan Stafford, 24, was convicted this week of four Class C felonies alleging he drove recklessly in a construction zone early one morning on Interstate 69, striking and killing two men standing along the side of the roadway.

A jury heard Stafford’s case during a three-day trial in Marion County Superior Court, Criminal Division 3, with Judge Sheila Carlisle overseeing the proceedings, court records show. Stafford was indicted by a grand jury late last year and charged with two counts of reckless driving in a highway work zone and two counts of failure to obey a traffic control device, officials said.

The accident happened around 5:45 a.m. May 9.

Police said Stafford was driving a pickup truck southbound on I-69 near Interstate 465 when he collided with a construction sign posted in the area, police said.

Kenneth Duerson Jr., 49, of Indianapolis, and Coty Demoss, 24, of Noblesville, were working to move the sign out of the roadway when Stafford’s truck crashed into them.

Both construction workers died from their injuries. 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.

Indiana State Police officers, Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration each conducted investigations into the crash, officials said.

When reports were turned over to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, the case was sent to a grand jury to determine whether or not charges would be filed against Stafford.

The grand jury decided Stafford would face four charges, each a Class C felony carrying a penalty of two to eight years.

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

Stafford is represented by Courtney Benson-Kooy with the Marion County Public Defender Office. Benson-Kooy did not return calls for comment regarding Stafford’s defense during the trial.

Follow his indictment in 2015, Jordan Stafford’s mother, Marcie Stafford, told the Daily Reporter the crash was an accident; she said she did not believe her son was guilty of the deaths. Marcie Stafford did not return calls for comment this week.

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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.