Hancock County coroner charged with OWI allowed to stay in office

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May 4, 2012

The Hancock County coroner arrested on drunken driving charges will be allowed to remain in office.

Tamara Vangundy, 49, pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of official misconduct and two misdemeanor charges of operating while intoxicated.

Vangundy was arrested late Wednesday night, after police said she was driving with a blood alcohol level at twice the legal limit in Indiana. Police said Vangundy was driving to the scene of a death investigation.

If Vangundy is convicted of a Class D felony, she will be removed from office and the election ballot.  She could also spend up to four years behind bars if she is found guilty of official misconduct.

Fox59 was there when the elected official was put through a field sobriety test, which she failed. Police said Vangundy’s BAC level was a .16.  She was then transported to the Hancock County Jail Thursday.

“It was just a poor decision,” said Vangundy as she was being booked into the jail.

Vangundy is currently running unopposed in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the Hancock County coroner.  However, even if Vangundy wanted to withdraw her name from the ballot, by law, she cannot.

“Now that the ballots are printed and the election is on Tuesday, she is on the ballot,” said Hancock County Clerk of Courts Marcia Moore.

At this point, the only thing that would disqualify Vangundy is if she is convicted of the Class D felony.

“In the end, she will be the Republican candidate unless something happens and obviously, we don’t have a crystal ball to know what’s going to happen in the future,” said Moore.

If Democrats wish to put someone else on the ballot for the November elections, they have until June to do so.

In the meantime, Madison County Deputy Prosecutor John McKay has been appointed as special prosecutor in the case.

Vangundy will appear in court again on June 21.

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