GREENFIELD — A driver involved in a Hancock County crash earlier this year that landed a child in the hospital with a head injury was high behind the wheel at the time of wreck, investigators say. Now, the man faces a felony charge because of the young passenger’s injuries.

Court records show 29-year-old Joseph Caudill of New Castle faces two criminal counts, one accusing him of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and the other alleging he put a child in danger because of that action, according to court documents.

The crash happened in early August when Caudill reportedly rear-ended another car while driving on a county road.

A child riding with Caudill at the time was taken to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis after he complained of head and neck pain following the crash, court documents state. The child made a full recovery, records show.

Law enforcement officials found empty prescription pill bottles and an open bottle of whisky in Caudill’s car after the crash, court documents state. The man passed a breath test, but a blood sample taken after the wreck showed Caudill had amphetamine and methamphetamine in his system, court documents state.

Prosecutors recently filed a Level 3 felony count of neglect of a dependent and a Level 6 felony count of operating while intoxicated against Caudill. He was arrested Friday and was being held in the Hancock County Jail on a $10,000 cash bond at press time.

Caudill was driving west on County Road 900N near the intersection with County Road 675E late on Aug. 4 when his car crashed into the back of a pickup truck that was stopped at the intersection, court documents state.

The other driver involved told police Caudill was acting strange immediately after the crash and seemed unfazed by the child’s injuries.

Officers questioned Caudill at the hospital. They noted the man seemed tired and didn’t make eye contact with the investigators, court documents state.

Medical staff also called the Indiana Department of Child Services hotline with suspicions Caudill was intoxicated, court documents state.

The Level 3 felony count Caudill faces carries a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison. The Level 6 felony count he faces carries a maximum penalty of 2½ years in prison.

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