- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) - A suspended Indiana police officer has pleaded guilty to causing a crash that killed a man and injured his pregnant wife.

Edgewood Officer James Foutch, 42, pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of reckless homicide and criminal recklessness inflicting serious bodily injury. Prosecutors will dismiss four other charges when Foutch is sentenced Sept. 17, The Herald Bulletin reported (https://bit.ly/1JvLTvK ).

Authorities say Foutch was off duty and under the influence of an anti-anxiety drug and a painkiller when his SUV going more than 90 mph plowed into the rear of a car on Indiana 32 near Anderson on April 6, 2014. The crash killed 23-year-old Jesse Sperry of Noblesville and injured his 22-year-old wife, Rebecca Sperry, who gave birth that day to a daughter by emergency C-section.

After the court hearing, Rebecca Sperry said that she and her mother-in-law, Janelle Sperry, are glad the case is moving forward.

“We also 100 percent back the prosecutor’s decision,” Rebecca Sperry said. “They actually listened to what we had to say before they went through with the agreement.”

Foutch declined to comment after he entered his pleas.

Defense attorney Evan Broderick said he expects to call five or six witnesses during the sentencing hearing. Madison Circuit Judge David Happe said Foutch faces a possible prison sentence of two to 11 years.

Deputy Madison County Prosecutor Andrew Hopper said that on the Sunday afternoon when the crash occurred, Rebecca Sperry was driving westbound on Indiana 32 while Foutch was headed in the same direction at 90.3 miles per hour.

“The conditions were clear,” Hopper said. “While traveling at a reckless speed Foutch’s vehicle hit the back of the Sperry vehicle, causing it to hit a utility pole.”

Information obtained from computers in Foutch’s vehicle showed that he didn’t apply the brakes in the eight seconds before the crash, Hopper said.

Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said the most serious charge that Foutch had faced, a Class B felony of causing death while operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance, would have been difficult to prove.

“There was evidence of a controlled substance in his (Foutch’s) system,” Cummings said. “He had a prescription for the drug and it was under the therapeutic level.”

Foutch has been on unpaid administrative leave with the Edgewood Police Department since April 2014.

___

Information from: The Herald Bulletin, https://www.theheraldbulletin.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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