UPDATE (January 25, 2018) — Rene Justo pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Two additional charges were dropped as a result of a plea agreement. He was sentenced to 3 years in the Department of Correction and given credit for 210 days served.
HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. — A 23-year-old man is facing multiple charges after investigators say he crashed his car and left the scene of a fatal wreck.
Investigators say the driver of a Nissan Maxima and Dodge Caravan crashed at CR 800 West and CR 350 North on the Marion and Hancock County line on June 24. Miguel Chiquito Utrera was pronounced dead the next day. The driver of the caravan, Kenneth Campo, was taken to a hospital with critical injuries. Deputies say he remains in serious condition more than a week later.
“It’s a terrible tragedy and a senseless thing that didn’t have to happen,” Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.
Eaton said investigators initially believed only two people and two vehicles were involved, until digging deeper and discovering a third person was involved.
“It sounds like the deceased and Mr. Justo were people that knew each other, that were friends,” he said.
According to court documents, witnesses reported seeing a white Nissan traveling at a high rate of speed as it approached the intersection. After the collision, witnesses reported seeing a man with blood on his clothing, who appeared injured, standing over the top of the unresponsive man. The witness believed the man left in another vehicle.
Court documents show Rene Jacobo Justo, 23, told investigators he and Miguel went to get something to eat the morning of the crash. Justo stated he was driving his mother’s car and after stopping at the stop sign, did not see another car coming when he pulled out at the intersection. Justo told investigators he saw Utrera lying in the road and tried to help.
The document reads, “Rene said when the ambulance arrived and he started to get scared and his feelings told him to go.”
According to court documents, Justo told investigators he knew Utrera was hurt and would need money and said he’d been trying to gather money since the accident.
Justo is facing charges of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury and operating a motor vehicle without ever receiving a license.
“As we head into the July 4th weekend, you know it’s important people really be mindful when they’re on the roadways so we can avoid these kind of tragedies,” he said.
Eaton said if convicted, Justo could face up to 8 1/2 years behind bars.