State police call for charges in fatal Ripley Co. accident, now say racing was a factor

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RIPLEY COUNTY – Indiana State Police are now calling for charges in a fatal crash that killed three teenagers and injured three others.

Possible charges include reckless homicide, reckless driving, speeding and disregarding a stop sign. The Ripley County Prosecutor’s Office is currently reviewing a new report from a crash reconstructionist and will determine if charges are warranted.

The March 7 wreck happened after two groups of teens left an FFA breakfast. They were traveling in separate trucks at separate times, and police had initially ruled out racing as a contributing factor in the crash. After reexamining the case, police now say racing was to blame.

“It is the recommendation of the Indiana State Police to the Ripley County Prosecutor that charges of Reckless Homicide or Reckless Driving couple with Speeding and Disregarding a Stop Sign be filed,” the report said.

Samantha Hansen, Jacob Vogel and Curtis Bowman died in the crash. All were 18 years old and students at South Ripley High School. Bowman was one of the drivers.

Three teens—two 15-year-old passengers and a 17-year-old driver—survived. One of the witnesses told police that the 17-year-old driver saw Bowman’s truck getting close to the four-way stop and tried to beat him to the intersection. State police estimated that the truck was going at least 75 mph when the trucks collided.

“One could say this crash did not occur as a result of simply ‘rolling through’ the stop signs,” investigators concluded in the report.

“The Dodge was traveling at a speed well above the posted 55 mph limit for the roadways and then approached/entered the intersection at a speed in a reckless manner which resulted in a violent impact with the Ford truck thus resulting in the fatal injuries,” the report said.

State police also noted that the 17-year-old driver had been cited for speeding in the month prior to the crash. In that case, he was caught going 85 mph in a 55 mph zone.

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