The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Cops, courts and fires

May 21, 2013

Suspected drag racer set to go to trial

ANDERSON, Ind. — A second suspect in a deadly drag-racing incident more than a year ago is about to stand trial.

Michael P. Ducheteau, 21, of Alexandria, faces charges of reckless homicide and criminal recklessness for his involvement in a fatal crash on March 15, 2012, on County Road 100 West in Alexandria. Ducheteau’s trial starts Thursday at 9 a.m. in Madison Circuit Court 3.

The accident claimed the life of 17-year-old Darian S. Hurn of Alexandria. Hurn was a passenger in a 2010 Cobalt driven by Paul Coy of Alexandria. The Cobalt was drag racing with a 2004 Pontiac believed to be operated by Ducheteau at the time.

Coy was convicted in December of reckless homicide and two counts of criminal recklessness and received an 8-year sentence.

Deputy prosecutor Steve Koester, who will represent the state in the case, said the case against Ducheteau is strong.

“It’s a lot of the same evidence we had against Coy, and we won that case,” Koester said.

According to the police report after the crash, the two cars raced northbound on County Road 100 West with the Cobalt in the southbound lane. An oncoming car in the southbound lane caused Coy to brake and try to merge back into the northbound lane behind Ducheteau’s car. Coy lost control of the Cobalt and hit a group of trees off the road when Ducheteau slammed on the brakes.

The Cobalt skidded more than 250 feet before smashing into the trees and seriously damaging the car. Hurn was airlifted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and was declared dead early the next morning, and two female juvenile passengers were transported to Community Hospital in Anderson and then Methodist Hospital and treated for serious injuries.

Coy told detectives he was going at least 65 mph in the 55 mph zone, but according to the prosecution and official statements in the trial the cars were going at least 100 mph.

Ducheteau was also believed to be involved in an unrelated death in Tipton on Feb. 1. The body of Joseph Richards, 22, of Atlanta was struck by the 2004 Pontiac operated by Ducheteau at 3:51 a.m. on County Road 400 East.

Richards had collapsed in the roadway after escaping from the wreckage of a truck he was operating. For an unknown reason, the truck traveled off the road, down an embankment and into a ditch containing 3 feet of water.

Investigators believe Richards was dead from exposure to subzero wind-chill temperatures before being struck by the Pontiac. No charges have been filed in that incident.

Koester said that incident has nothing to do with the reckless driving case and wouldn’t be discussed in the trial.

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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