Former Edgewood officer sentenced to 11 years for crash that killed man, injured pregnant wife

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ANDERSON, Ind. (Sept. 17, 2015)-- A former Edgewood police officer who pleaded guilty in connection with a deadly crash was sentenced Thursday.

Prosecutors charged James Foutch, 42, last April for a crash that killed Jesse Sperry and injured his pregnant wife Rebecca. Foutch pleaded guilty in August. He was sentenced to 11 years. Eight years will be served in the Indiana Department of Correction, and three years will be served on probation. This was the maximum possible sentence.

Foutch entered a guilty plea last month in the case, admitting to reckless homicide and criminal recklessness in the April 2014 crash.

Police said Foutch was in his personal vehicle and driving more than 90 miles an hour when he hit the Sperrys from behind. Foutch also told police he’d taken prescription medication.

Prosecutors stated in court Thursday that Hydrocodone was found in Foutch’s blood along with illegally obtained Xanax. Foutch also had no insurance on his personal vehicle.

The crash killed Jesse Sperry, 23, and critically injured his wife Rebecca, who still sees a specialist because of injuries she received. The couple’s daughter Autumn had to be delivered by emergency C-section the day of the accident.

Sperry said in court she was scheduled to be induced the night of the accident. She also revealed that her daughter Autumn could’ve suffered from brain damage as a result of the crash, because the placenta detached partially from the impact, cutting off oxygen to the child. Luckily, doctors report her daughter’s brain function is normal.

Sperry called her husband Jesse a “gentle” man who loved the woods and “one that can’t be replaced.”

James Foutch also spoke on his own behalf saying he had worked multiple shifts, both at his job as an Edgewood officer and at another private security job leading up to the crash. He said he’d had issues sleeping and took prescriptions as directed but did not abuse them.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about you,” Foutch said to the Sperry family, “I do want you to know how sorry I am.”

Rebecca Sperry said after the hearing she believed Foutch was remorseful.

“I believe he was sincere. We were told what his history was, but we don’t know what his future is. That’s in the Lord’s hands,” she said.

Family members said they’re trying to work through the grief and pain.

“In the legal sense, most definitely it closes a case, so the healing can progress,” said Janelle Cox, Jesse Sperry’s mother.

Foutch had a history of traffic-related violations, mostly speed related, according to information in the pre-sentence report.

A fellow Edgewood officer clocked him in May of 2013 going 96 miles an hour, but Foutch was not reprimanded. That officer testified Thursday.

After the sentencing, tensions became heated in the hallway as words were exchanged between Foutch’s family and others in the courtroom. The Sperry family had already been ushered into an adjoining room.

Judge David Happe emerged and helped clear the hallway.

Foutch’s attorney said in court his client plans to appeal the sentence.

Andrew Ellingwood, Edgewood Town Marshal, said Foutch remains on administrative leave without pay. The process to formally terminate him can begin once the legal matters are resolved.

Other charges against Foutch were dropped as a result of the plea. They included operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance; causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated; causing serious bodily injury when operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance; and causing serious bodily injury when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.