By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — A day after a deadly traffic accident that claimed the life of an expecting father and injured the pregnant mother, friends of the family raised more than $7,000 to help with expenses for the family. And they’re hoping that number continues to rise.
As of Monday night, officials, friends and a fundraising website indicated Rebecca Sperry, the 22-year-old mother injured in the wreck, was in stable condition at St. Vincent Indianapolis. Sperry gave birth to the newborn girl, Autumn Marie, Sunday night at the hospital after she was airlifted from the scene of the accident in the 7500 block of West Indiana 32. After an emergency C-section, the newborn was transferred to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and is receiving specialized treatment.
Investigators believe the 1996 Buick Century driven by Sperry was hit from behind by a 2004 GMC Yukon heading the same direction about 12:30 p.m. The force threw the vehicle off the roadway and into a nearby utility pole, disintegrating the car. The sport utility vehicle was driven by 41-year-old James D. Foutch, a 12-year veteran of the Edgewood Police Department, who was off-duty at the time in his personal vehicle. Foutch faces a Class B felony driving while intoxicated, and authorities announced Monday they believe he was high on hydrocodone painkillers.
Jesse Sperry, the 23-year-old passenger in the Buick, didn’t survive the wreck. The Pendleton couple was on their way from church, and the mother was scheduled to have her delivery induced that night.
A Youcaring.com fundraising website was launched on Sunday night by Julie Gapinski and Lauren Schneider, two friends of the Sperry family. As of Monday night, the website indicated more than $7,000 had been raised for the family’s expenses, with an ultimate goal of $25,000. The supporters tab on the site featured words of encouragement from more than 100 people who donated to the fund.
According to the site, the fundraiser was started to cover medical expenses for the family, and anyone who didn’t want to give on the website could donate a check to Edgewood Baptist Church, 3743 Nichol Ave.
Schneider said she met with Sperry’s family on Monday. She said the family has been through a lot and wants to hold off before commenting publicly.
Pastor Tom Lutz of Edgewood Baptist said he and other members of the church have been constantly monitoring the situation with the family, and he has been praying since the accident. He said the last update he received indicated infant Autumn was showing good signs of development, and that Rebecca has a broken arm.
“Everyone is doing what they can. The best thing right now is to let Rebecca heal and allow her to recuperate,” Lutz said. “We will help them with regard to their expenses. Whenever anyone has physical or financial needs, our church responds.”
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How to help
To donate to the Sperry family Visit youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/love-for-rebecca-and-autumn/160859 and click on Give Now. If you don't want to donate online, you may send a check payable to Edgewood Baptist Church, 3743 Nichol Ave., Anderson, IN 46011, and reference Rebecca and Autumn Sperry.