ANDERSON — “He’s my hero, and he always will be.”
That’s how Janelle Cox described her 23-year-old son, Jesse Sperry, who was killed in an April 6 traffic accident. Sperry was the passenger in a car driven by his wife, 22-year-old Rebecca Sperry. The two were heading home to Noblesville from church services at Edgewood Baptist about noon, driving west in the 7500 block of West Indiana 32, midway between Lapel and Anderson. Rebecca, who was nine months pregnant, was scheduled to have labor induced that night.
The next few minutes completely changed the family’s world.
Their 1996 Buick Century was rear-ended by a GMC Yukon, now believed to be traveling 92 mph at the time of impact by off-duty Edgewood Police Officer James D. Foutch, 41. According to police reports, the SUV made no attempt to brake or swerve, and Foutch was allegedly high on hydrocodone and Xanax at the time. The 12-year Edgewood police veteran now faces felony charges for his role in the accident.
Over the past week, the family has been gripping with the duality of mourning the loss of Jesse, while celebrating the introduction of baby Autumn Marie into the world. Rebecca Sperry was airlifted from the crash site to an Indianapolis hospital, where she delivered Autumn Marie by emergency C-section that night. For the past week, the two have been recovering in separate Indianapolis hospitals. Rebecca was finally released on Sunday and was admitted to a rehabilitation facility.
On Monday, Cox reflected on the short but full life her son lived. Over the last week, something doctors and nurses told her further solidified the heroic portrait of her son.
“In the last moments, he knew the impact was coming, and he reached out to protect his wife and unborn child,” Cox said. “If he hadn’t, we might not be celebrating the birth of Autumn right now. I believe he died a hero.”