Mom and newborn finally together after surviving deadly crash

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INDIANAPOLIS — Autumn Sperry is finally in her mother’s arms.

The newborn left Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health Tuesday afternoon, and new grandpa John Keefe is in love.

“This is my first one!” he said, walking into Riley Hospital with a brand new car seat. “They let me hold her for the first time. Of course I had a couple little books there to read her and she liked them, then she promptly fell asleep!”


Rebecca and Autumn Sperry (photo provided by family)

The smile on his face might surprise you, but it’s amazing what a little baby is doing for the two grieving families.

Autumn was born during an emergency C-section last week after Rebecca and Jesse Sperry were hit from behind by an off-duty police officer as they were leaving church. Jesse was in the passenger seat and died at the scene.

Court documents show Edgewood police officer James Foutch hit the Sperry’s vehicle at 92 mph without braking on State Road 32 in Madison County. He’s facing drug and reckless homicide charges. Documents say he admitted to taking hydrocodone and said he didn’t see the Sperry’s car.

The couple had been attached at the hip since high school, with Autumn due any day.

“This will be the first time my daughter will actually get to hold her and she’s so excited about that,” said John Keefe. “She’s given some very specific instructions about what she wants to do! She’s just really excited.”

The littlest of them all, who can’t say a word yet, has the power to shed light on some of their darkest days.

“Jesse wanted to make sure his daughter was able to go to college because he hadn’t been able to go and wanted to, and we’re just so excited that she’ll be able to carry on his legacy.”

Rebecca was moved from St. Vincent to another hospital and she walked on her own this week.

Keefe says her recovery, not just physically, will be a long one.

“She knows what has happened but I think the emotional part of it, she hasn’t been able to deal with, but I suspect starting tomorrow when we have the funeral we’re going to start seeing more of the grieving part of it,” said Keefe. “But she’ll have the baby there as well and so I’m hopeful that will take some of the sharpness off of it.”

Keefe says they can’t thank everyone enough for the outpouring of love and support.

Jesse Sperry’s funeral is Wednesday at Edgewood Baptist church at 2 p.m. Visitation starts at noon.

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