GREENFIELD — An Indianapolis man who fled the scene of a wreck that killed his friend pleaded guilty to a Level 5 felony Wednesday and is slated to be sentenced in January.
Prosecutors have offered a plea deal to Rene Jacobo Justo, 23, and recommend the Mexico native spend three years in an Indiana Department of Correction facility and face deportation after he serves his time, officials said in Hancock County Superior Court 1.
Justo faced two felonies and a misdemeanor accusing him of leaving the scene of an accident and driving without having been issued a driver’s license. He appeared Wednesday in court, where he pleaded guilty to the Level 5 felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in a death.
The accident left one Indianapolis man dead and another in serious condition, officials said. Miguel Chiquito Utrera, 20, died at the scene of the crash from the injuries he sustained after being thrown from Justo’s car.
Kenneth Campo, 59, of Indianapolis, was sent to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital to recover from head trauma, fractured ribs and a collapsed lung, court documents state.
The crash happened June 4 on the border of Hancock and Marion counties. Justo and his roommate, Utrera, were on their way out to eat before the accident, prosecutors said.
Justo was speeding eastbound in a white Nissan Maxima along County Road 350N, traveling at least 75 miles per hour, according to court documents. Justo blew past the stop sign at County Road 800W, crossing the path of a northbound 2006 Dodge Caravan. The two vehicles collided, veering off the roadway into a nearby yard.
Utrera was thrown from the car on impact, witnesses said. After crawling out of his vehicle, Justo approached Utrera’s body and attempted to wake his friend up, court documents state. When Utrera didn’t respond, Justo fled the scene and found a ride back to his apartment complex on the northwest side of Indianapolis.
First-responders later found Utrera lying in the middle of the roadway. The man was gravely injured at the scene, and he was rushed to Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead the next day, court documents say.
Police located Justo’s family, which led to Justo’s arrest June 26. He faced two felony charges, one Level 5 count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and one Level 6 felony count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury.
State records revealed Justo was never issued a driver’s license, and he was additionally charged with a Class C misdemeanor of knowingly operating a motor vehicle without ever receiving a license.
Justo, who prosecutors say was living in the country illegally, agreed to plead guilty to the Level 5 felony count, and the court dropped the other two charges.