UPDATE (May 16, 2019) — Ruel Pedigo was found guilty of reckless homicide, causing death while operating a motor vehicle with a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance and causing serious injuring while operating a motor vehicle with a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance. Sentencing is scheduled for July 12.
COLUMBUS, Ind – The tow truck driver accused of causing the crash that killed an up-and-coming musician now faces felony charges in Bartholomew County.
Ruel Pedigo, 49, is now charged with Reckless Homicide and Causing Death While Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Controlled Substance in the Blood, and Causing Serious Bodily Injury when Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Controlled Substance in the Blood.
The charges followed a nearly four-month investigation that found Pedigo had Methamphetamine in his system when the tow truck he was driving ran into several vehicles at a stoplight on State Road 46 in late January. The crash killed 36-year old Patrick Bowman and seriously injured Bowman’s fiancee, Sarah Fliehman.
“Columbus Police, with the help of State Police went through airbag diagnostics, downloaded information from vehicles that were involved in the crash,” said Columbus Police Lt. Matt Harris. “They also looked at nearby security camera footage.”
Harris says the key evidence came from a blood draw from Pedigo shortly after the crash occurred.
“When we received the results back, it showed Mr Pedigo had methamphetamine in his system,” Harris said.
The charges against Pedigo follow nearly four months of waiting for the family of Patrick Bowman.
“Patrick was a loving fiancé, brother, son, and valued friend to many,” a family statement said. “There are no words to describe the devastation we all feel. Patrick’s death has left a horrible void in so many lives.”
Bowman is remembered as a talented singer-songwriter with a promising career in country music ahead of him. Bowman performed under the stage name “Tilford Sellers” and recorded original country music with his band “Tilford Sellers & the Wagon Burners.”
“We believe Patrick would want to be remembered for his music,” the family statement said. “Patrick was one of five nominees by the Ameripolitan Music Awards for the 2018 Honky Tonk Male Artist of the year. His music career was looking brighter every day.”
Bowman’s family says he was in the process of recording an album at the time of his death. That album is now set for release in late summer or early fall. All proceeds from the album will go to a scholarship fund in his name, administered through the Heritage Fund of Bartholomew County.
The fund is taking donations for the scholarship. A link to that donation website can be found here.