INDIANAPOLIS – A Marine was going nearly 80 mph in a 40 mph zone before his government-issued car slammed into a vehicle carrying a Fishers kindergarten teacher and her husband in July 2022, police say.
Jaime Heredia Jr., 30, is now charged with two counts of reckless homicide in connection with the crash that killed 56-year-old Grant Lansdell and 51-year-old Ashley Lansdell. It happened around 12:50 p.m. on July 11, 2022, near 56th Street and Glenn Road in Lawrence.
Grant Lansdell, who was driving the couple’s Ford Fusion, suffered from multiple blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital. Ashley Lansdell, the passenger, died more than two weeks later at IU Health Methodist Hospital.
Ashley Lansdell was a teacher at Fall Creek Elementary School and had been with Hamilton Southeastern Schools since August 2012. Her husband “had a tremendous involvement” in local music programs, according to family members.
It took months for the Lawrence Police Department to investigate the crash, which involved a government-issued Ford Focus driven by Heredia and rendered the Lansdells’ Ford Fusion “unrecognizable,” according to court documents. The crash trapped the unconscious couple inside; they were taken to IU Health Methodist after being freed.
At the scene, Heredia agreed to speak to investigators. He told police he was “driving in excess of the posted speed limit” but tried to slow down when he saw the Lansdells’ vehicle. He was unable to brake in time to avoid the collision.
According to a crash reconstructionist, Heredia’s Ford Focus was going 69 mph just five seconds before impact. Crash data showed the car was accelerating, too, hitting a speed of 78.7 mph just one second before impact. At one second, Heredia hit the brakes and slowed to just over 60 mph.
The speed limit in the area was 40 mph.
Heredia also told police, according to court documents, that he’d had a 20 oz. Corona around 7:30 a.m. that day. He was unwilling to submit to a chemical test at the scene, stating that he was concerned he would test positive for opiates. He told police he took opiates for an injury, although he was supposed to discontinue use of the narcotics on June 24, 2022. He said he’d taken only aspirin and Aleve on the day of the crash.
Heredia was returning to the Marine Corps office from a physical therapy session when the crash occurred, he told investigators.
An investigator “believed the use of pain medication may have been a factor” in the crash, according to court documents, based on Heredia’s “slow and slurred speech pattern” and “previous narcotic pain medication use.” He was not offered a portable breath test (PBT) because officers didn’t suspect alcohol impairment.
Investigators eventually obtained a warrant for a blood draw, which was taken at Eskenazi Hospital. The blood draw showed Heredia’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.074, which was below Indiana’s legal limit of 0.08. Heredia had also complained of leg pain, according to court documents.
After the crash, Heredia called a corporal with the Marine Corps to tell him what happened. The officer arrived at the scene and took a trash bag back to the recruitment office after Heredia had given it to him. Later, the corporal discovered the bag contained three empty alcoholic drink boxes and a flask containing an unknown liquid.
Court documents said Heredia, who had been given permission to use the government-issued vehicle, had also signed an agreement saying he wouldn’t smoke, drink or break any laws while using the car.
He’s next due in court in March, according to court records.