Family lobbies prosecutor for tougher charges following deadly hit-and-run arrest on Indy's south side


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– An Indianapolis man is behind bars accused of a deadly hit-and-run on the city’s south side.

The suspect, Stephen Watkins, is already facing multiple felony charges, but the victim’s family is asking the prosecutor for a tougher punishment.

The crash took place on Jan. 19 near the intersection of West Southport Road and South Tibbs Avenue. Tire tracks still show the exact spot where a driver jumped the curb, hit the victim and then drove away.

“He hit her like she was an animal in the street and left her,” said the victim’s brother, Daniel Johnson.

Daniel says the crash killed his younger sister Tonya Meyer, who is also known by friends as Lynn Sedam. Daniel doesn’t think her death was an accident.

“He apparently had been outraged because she turned him down, so took his vehicle and ran over her which caused severe brain damage and broke her all to pieces,” said Johnson.

According to court records, a witness told police Watkins had been arguing with Tonya and she said, “She didn’t care about Mr. Watkins… which caused him to become angry and jealous.”

Police say the pair then went to a nearby Steak N’ Shake on Southport Road, but the victim decided to get out of his van and walk.

Eyewitnesses told police Watkins “darted over to the left” as if he were making an evasive move and hit the victim. After the crash, prosecutors claim Watkins drove the damaged van back to his home and parked it in the driveway.

“I mean she was a fun loving outgoing person and she didn’t deserve what he did to her,” said Johnson.

Daniel shared a graphic picture of his sister suffering for a week in the hospital before she passed away.

Watkins is currently charged with aggravated battery and leaving the scene of a crash. Daniel thinks those charges should be increased.

“I think he did it on purpose and he needs to be dealt with. The prosecutor needs to up it to a murder charge,” said Johnson.

Prosecutors claim while in jail Watkins, who is still married to another woman, told his wife the victim “probably stepped in front of his vehicle.”

That’s a story Tonya’s brother doesn’t buy.

“There’s no way she stepped out. He intentionally hit her and killed her. So he ought to be charged with murder,” said Johnson.

The suspect remains behind bars on an $80,000 bond. Prosecutors say a decision on amending the charges has not been made.

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