SCOTT COUNTY, Ind. – A man who led police on a pursuit that resulted in the death of a southern Indiana officer has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Benjamin Eads, 35, learned his sentence Friday. Eads was driving a stolen car during a two-county pursuit on Dec. 12. Charlestown Sgt. Ben Bertram was killed after his police car hit a tree at State Road 3 and State Road 56 near Scottsburg during the pursuit.
Bertram was a nine-year veteran of the Charlestown Police Department who worked in the K9 Division.
Eads pleaded guilty to last month to multiple counts, including resisting law enforcement, auto theft, escape and driving with a suspended license. The resisting law enforcement charge led to a 30-year prison sentence. He’ll serve concurrent sentences for the other charges.
Eads had faced a habitual offender enhancement that would have added up to 20 years to the sentence, but prosecutors in Scott County agreed to drop the enhancement as part of the plea agreement, according to the News and Tribune.
In addition, the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office agreed not to file charges in the same case since the pursuit spanned Scott and Clark counties.
Charlestown Police Chief Keith McDonald told the newspaper that Eads’ plea deal will allow Bertram’s family and the department to avoid a lengthy trial. The plea agreement also had the blessing of the officer’s family.