A 17 year old who caused a March crash that killed three of his classmates admitted guilt today and will spend time this summer in a juvenile detention facility.
Tommy Crawford was charged with reckless homicide and reckless driving in juvenile court. Today, he made a plea agreement.
He was immediately sentenced to 120 days in youth detention-30 of those days are suspended. He will also lose his drivers license and be on probation until his 21st birthday. And he must serve 350 hours of community service.
Crawford is ordered to report on May 25th and will be transfered to a juvenile detention facility in Muncie.
Sam Hansen, Curtis Bowman and Jacob Vogel were killed in the crash at Fairground Rd. and County Road 850 West in March. Their mothers were in court this morning and each spoke during the hearing. Local 12's Larry Davis was there and says Crawford was choking back tears during the testimony.
Crawford and his family refused comment after the court hearing. Later the prosecutor and one of the mothers spoke to the media. Pat Bowman, mother of Curtis Bowman said, "As a mother, I wanted Tommy to pay the same price as Curtis did and the other children. But as a Christian, and as a member of society, that's not gonna bring Curtis back. That's not gonna bring the other two kids back."
Prosecutor Rick Hertel added, "We lost three future productive members of our community on March 7th. Three kids that could have changed the world."
Story filed April 26, 2013
The Ripley County Prosecutor filed charges on Thursday against a 17-year-old boy for a crash that killed three of his classmates in March. Tommy Crawford was charged with reckless homicide and reckless driving in juvenile court.
The prosecutor could ask that the case be transferred to adult court.
Sam Hansen, Curtis Bowman and Jacob Vogel were killed in the crash at Fairground Rd. and County Road 850 West last month. Sam Hansen was a passenger in the front seat of a Dodge Dually truck driven by Crawford. Jacob Vogel was a passenger in a truck driven by Curtis Bowman.
"He was a good kid," said Ann Vogel, Jacob's mother. "Brian, my husband, you know, he lost not only his son but his best friend. They were together constantly."
Vogel said she believes Tommy Crawford should be punished for the crash. She shared a statement she obtained through the investigation from a school bus driver who saw Tommy Crawford driving the morning of the crash. According to the statement, the bus driver said Crawford's white truck appeared to be speeding and swerving. The driver said it was around 7:16 a.m. and she moved her bus to the side of the road to avoid being hit. "I can't wrap my mind around it. And that's what I keep circling around to, it's to me, if he did that 2 1/2 hours before hitting Jacob and Curtis, he must have done it often enough to where that didn't rattle him anymore."
A report released by Indiana State Police includes interviews with two of the students who were passengers in Crawford's truck. One of the students riding in the front seat told police Crawford saw Bowman approaching the four-way stop and speeded up to beat him to the stop sign, while a passenger in the back seat stated Crawford was driving fast to catch up to another student, Jacob Steuver, who was driving in front of him. According to the report, Crawford was driving at a minimum of 75 mph when he ran the stop sign and hit Bowman's truck. The report states Bowman was driving at a minimum of 26 mph.
Crawford and the other students were attending a Future Farmers of America breakfast at Hopewell Church on March 7. The report states Crawford, Sam Hansen, Kayla Adkinson and Caleb Cumberworth left the breakfast to get more drinks for the event. Curtis Bowman asked for permission to leave to pick-up a four-wheeler but was told he was not allowed to leave.
Police said the teens left the event around the same time but took different routes and may not have known the others had left. Tommy Crawford had been cited for speeding a month before the crash, the report stated.
A Versailles police officer pulled over Crawford in February for driving 85 mph but he was given a citation for driving 70 mph. "Something in him isn't learning his lessons. Isn't learning from the speeding ticket, isn't learning from almost hitting the school bus, he needs, if he goes to juvenile court maybe he'll spend some time and maybe get him rehabilitated where he can make something of his life," Ann Vogel said.
Ann Vogel said the loss of her oldest son has been hard on her family. She has good days and bad. "Monday morning was a bad morning. I started crying because I said Jess, take the garbage out. And, that was something Jacob just did every morning. He grabbed the garbage and take it out before he left for school. It's just little things like that sometimes that get you. "
Curtis Bowman's mother declined Local 12's request for an on camera interview. But she said she believes her son stopped at the intersection the morning of the crash. She said Curtis was a good driver who was used to driving heavy trucks and he would stop before the stop sign. The crash report stated Bowman's truck was driving between 26 and 28 mph at the time of impact.
Bowman's mother said she believes her son stopped at the stop sign and then accelerated to drive forward. Tommy Crawford is scheduled to make his first court appearance June 6.
The Ripley County Prosecutor could ask to have the case transferred to adult court.