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Shirley man involved in crash to face charges

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GREENFIELD — Six months after a Shirley man admitted to drinking alcohol before he caused a serious car accident, prosecutors have brought criminal charges against him.

Thomas “Rick” Taylor, 49, told officers at the scene May 17 he’d been drinking beer before he ran a stop sign at the intersection of CRs 675E and 1000N and slammed into another car, according to charging documents filed Thursday in Hancock Circuit Court.

Taylor had three children, including his young son and daughter, in his Chevrolet pickup truck at the time of the accident. None of the children was wearing a seatbelt, police reports state.

A neighbor who heard the crash and drove to the scene told police when she arrived that Taylor “was wandering around … and kept repeating he had only drank three beers,” a probable-cause affidavit states.

A preliminary breath test showed Taylor had a 0.09 percent blood-alcohol content, but a blood test would later confirm that level to be 0.07 percent, just below the legal threshold.

Taylor is charged with three counts of felony neglect and a misdemeanor charge of criminal recklessness.

Taylor’s daughter, 11, sustained the most serious injuries. She was unconscious when help arrived. Family members later told police she had fractured her skull and that pieces of her skull had cut into her brain. A family friend, 11, sustained several cuts, fractures to his face, as well as a severe laceration below one eye requiring more than 100 stitches, reports state.

Taylor’s son, 10, also suffered lacerations requiring stitches but was not as seriously injured.

Taylor’s daughter rallied despite her injuries, family members later told the Daily Reporter.

Hancock County Prosecutor Michael Griffin said his office found out about the incident and asked to review the police report shortly after the accident occurred. A completed report was not provided to his office until this week, he said.

“We’ve been asking for updates over the course of the last several months, but we didn’t receive a completed investigation until this week,” Griffin said. “I can’t explain why the investigation took as long as it did, but we file cases as promptly as we receive them, and we received it this week.”

He declined to comment further.

The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, in conjunction with the joint city/county crash investigation team, handled the case.

Greenfield police Maj. Derek Towle, who leads the crash team, said he didn’t have a concrete answer as to why the report was delayed for six months.

“It could be toxicology, it could be tons of different things that delays it,” he said. “It’s just something that happens. It’s part of the process.”

Taylor’s charges include two Class B felonies, which carry a penalty of six to 20 years and $10,000 in fines; one Class C felony, which carries a penalty of two to eight years and $10,000 in fines; and one Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year and $5,000 in fines.

A warrant for Taylor’s arrest was issued Thursday.

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