The Herald Bulletin

April 28, 2014

Toxicology report confirms suspended Edgewood officer had drugs in blood

Edgwood officer's initial court hearing is May 19

By Jack Molitor The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — The toxicology report of an Edgewood police officer who allegedly caused a deadly traffic accident April 6 confirmed what investigators believed: The man was driving under the influence of hydrocodone and an anti-anxiety drug.

The blood screen of 41-year-old James D. Foutch of Edgewood came back to the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office on Monday, confirming suspicions and an alleged admission from Foutch. The 12-year veteran of the Edgewood Police Department was at the wheel of a 2004 GMC Yukon that caused the accident in the 7500 block of Indiana 32 that claimed the life of 23-year-old Jesse Sperry.

Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said he received the report from AIT Laboratories after asking for a rush on the report shortly after the accident. According to an updated probable cause affidavit, Foutch’s blood tested positive for anti-anxiety drug alprazolam, also known as Xanax, and hydrocodone, a powerful painkiller.

According to the affidavit, the SUV driven by Foutch rear-ended a 1996 Buick Century driven by Sperry’s wife, Rebecca Sperry, forcing the car off the roadway and into a nearby utility pole. The impact killed Jesse Sperry, and Rebecca Sperry was airlifted from the scene to an Indianapolis hospital, where she recovered from serious injuries for a week. She also gave birth to the couple’s first child, a girl named Autumn Marie, by emergency C-section. The mother and infant have since recovered and are now living with Rebecca Sperry’s parents.

The vehicle recorder of the Yukon indicated Foutch was traveling about 92 mph and made no attempt to stop or swerve at the time of impact. Foutch allegedly admitted to officers at the scene that he had used hydrocodone, for which he had a prescription, and Xanax, which he wasn’t prescribed.

The affidavit also indicated the off-duty officer’s speech was slurred, but he’s missing several teeth — not the result of the accident — which could have caused the slurring. He also failed several field sobriety tests.

Foutch has already been placed on administrative leave without pay by the Edgewood Town Council, and faces serious felony charges in connection with the incident, including driving while intoxicated causing death, driving while intoxicated causing serious injury, reckless homicide and criminal recklessness. Prosecutors are also pursuing a sentence-enhancing charge of habitual substance offender in the case.

Foutch, a career third-shift officer, faces an initial hearing in court on May 19. He was making $41,972.32 a year.

Attempts to reach Foutch have been unsuccessful, and Foutch’s family has declined to comment on the story. The family of Erica Manis, Foutch’s girlfriend and passenger the day of the accident, issued a statement apologizing to the Sperry family for the accident, but declined to comment further on the case.

Like Jack Molitor on Facebook and follow him @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

Online Extra Check out heraldbulletin.com for more coverage of the April 6 accident, including an in-depth interview with Rebecca Sperry.