INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Police officers in the city spend more time investigating hit-and-runs than you may think.
According to data given to us from IMPD, 2,218 hit-and-runs cases were assigned in 2017 alone, with 14 of them fatal.
While it’s important to note a chunk of those involve property damage only, an analysis of court cases shows most suspects who injure or kill someone during a hit-and-run will be back on the streets in five years or less.
Currently, the maximum time someone can receive for the level 5 felony charge of failure to remain at scene of accident with death is six years with a recommended sentence of three years.
According to state law, if someone causes an accident with property damage or injury, the person must notify authorities as quickly as they can and provide “reasonable assistance” to anyone who is injured.
If they leave the scene causing property damage, it is filed as a class B misdemeanor. It’s upgraded to a class A if they cause “bodily injury” and becomes a level 6 felony when determined a “serious bodily injury.”
To receive over a six-year sentence per count, authorities have to prove the suspect was intoxicated at the time of the incident. The charge OWI causing death is a level 3 felony, carrying a max sentence of 16 years with a recommended sentence of nine years.
Here’s a sample of jail sentences for fatal hit-and-run suspects in Indianapolis over the last few years.
- Maurice Webster received 4 years and 60 days for the fatal hit-and-run of a 90-year-old woman.
- Tresor Shema received 5 years for the fatal hit-and-run of a 22-year-old woman.
- Matthew McQueen received 1 year. He struck and killed a 65-year-old man on the west side.
- Leslie Miller received 3 years for striking and killing a 53-year-old Rushville man on I-465.
- Terry Ferguson received 6 months for killing 23-year-old Indianapolis man. She was convicted on failing to remain at the scene of a fatal accident and operating a vehicle with an ACE of .15 or more.
- Joshua Stephens received 4 years for fatal hit-and-run of 60-year-old bicyclist.
- Christopher Stimac received 1 year for striking, killing a 13-year-old girl.
- Briscoe Wallace received 16 years for killing a motorcyclist while intoxicated. He was convicted on multiple charges.
- Gary Shinnamon received 4 years for his colliding into the back of a vehicle, killing an Indianapolis infant.
In 2017, Gov. Holcomb signed a bill to expand penalties for people who kill more than one person in a hit-and-run. Prior to that signature, the law previously contained the same penalty for one crash, even if more than one person was seriously injured or killed.
In those 2,218 hit-and-run cases, IMPD said 970 cases were cleared and 155 arrests were made.
They are working on giving us official numbers from 2018 so far. If you have any information on pending hit-and-run cases, please call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-8477.