Potholes in fatal deputy accident had been filled twice before

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 21, 2014) — FOX59 News has learned that the Indianapolis Department of Public Works had been out to a rough patch of Acton Road on two different occasions prior to a motorcycle accident that killed a Marion County sheriff’s deputy.

The accident happened around 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the 8900 block of Acton Road on the south side of Indianapolis.

Off-duty Marion County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Eric W. Stofer, 35, Indianapolis, was riding a silver 2002 Suzuki motorcycle when he hit a pothole as he was driving south on Acton Road, just south of Maze Creek Road.

He lost control of the motorcycle, which crashed and ended up on top of him. No one else was involved in the crash.

Investigators said alcohol and speed were not considered factors in the crash early on, but a toxicology screening is still pending.

Although Stofer did have a motorcycle license, he did not own the motorcycle he was riding. Marion County Sheriff John Layton said Stofer had borrowed the motorcycle from a friend who is a former Marion County sheriff’s deputy.

Layton and Indiana State Police investigators also said that although Stofer had a helmet with him, he was not wearing it at the time of the accident.

“Even deputies at some times don’t take everything to heed, especially in their personal life,” Layton said. “And it was his choice to wear or not wear one if that be the case.”

Several family members, who did not want to be interviewed, arrived at the crash scene Monday afternoon. One member of the group said Stofer had been wearing a helmet earlier.

“He was wearing it when he left the house,” the man said.

The family members said Deputy Stofer leaves behind several loved ones, including three children and a fiancee he had planned to marry in October.

Stofer was an 11-year veteran of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. His time with the department including working building security and driving as an Inmate Transport Deputy with the Jail Division.

Department of Public Works spokeswoman Stephanie Sample told FOX59 that DPW crews had been out to fill potholes in the 8900 block of Acton Road in late December and January. She said the potholes must have reopened after being filled.

The only permanent solution to the problem would be resurfacing Acton Road, Sample said. But, according to Sample, DPW does not currently have the funding for that job.

DPW has come to the City-County Council on two recent occasions asking for more funding. The council recently tabled a plan to appropriate $8 million for emergency road repairs. Several council members were not happy with the way that money would have been divided among the districts.

Last week, Councilor Vernon Brown introduced an ordinance to appropriate $7 million for DPW, to shore up the department’s snow removal budget. That proposal has yet to be brought before the full council.