The Herald Bulletin

April 7, 2014

Editorial: Senseless tragedy of fatal crash hits community hard

The Herald Bulletin

---- — The tragedy of Sunday afternoon’s fatal car crash on Indiana 32 defies words.

Jesse Sperry, 23, of Pendleton, was killed. His pregnant wife, Rebecca Sperry, 22, was seriously injured and airlifted to St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.

They were driving home from church, heading westward between Anderson and Lapel, when the accident occurred.

A 2004 GMC Yukon driven by off-duty Edgewood police officer James D. Foutch, 41, purportedly struck the back of the Sperrys’ 1996 Buick, causing the car to leave the road and slam into a utility pole. The pole snapped, the car twisted around its base.

Investigators suspect Foutch, a 12-year veteran of the force who works third shift, was impaired by the painkiller hydrocodone at the time of the accident. He has been charged with driving while intoxicated and causing death and has been suspended from the Edgewood force.

Families that suffer the death of a loved one in a traffic accident feel sudden, sharp, profound anguish. When the person who caused the accident allegedly was impaired by alcohol or drugs it can add another dose of anger and disbelief to the emotional suffering.

Because of a conscious choice the other motorist made to drive while impaired, a loved one has died a sudden, unexpected and emotionally wrenching death. Who can make sense of such a needless tragedy?

Now, it is the responsibility of the local legal system to assure that Foutch is treated fairly according to the letter and spirit of the law, but also to make sure that he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Foutch, himself, is the father of a young child, according to Edgewood Town Marshal Andrew Ellingwood. Erica Manis, the mother of the child, was in the sport-utility vehicle with Foutch at the time of the accident. She complained of pain and was taken to St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital for treatment, according to authorities.

Rebecca Sperry was due to give birth to her baby Sunday, the day of the accident. Everyone, of course, was praying for both Rebecca and the baby. And indeed, the child was born and has been named Autumn Marie. She was taken to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis for specialized treatment.

Now, the community can pray for the full recovery of Rebecca and Autumn Marie, and for the eventuality that all will see Autumn’s father live on through her.

In summary Local legal system must assure that Edgewood police officer James Foutch, who is charged with driving while intoxicated and causing a death, is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.