from the Marion Superior Court, No. 49G05-1506-F3-20232 The
Honorable Grant W. Hawkins, Judge
Petition from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Victoria L. Bailey Marion County
Public Defender Indianapolis, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Angela N. Sanchez Deputy Attorney General
Paquette v. State, a decision handed down today, we
found that only one Level 3 felony conviction is authorized
under Indiana Code section 35-44.1-3-1 when a defendant
engages in a single act of resisting law enforcement while
operating a vehicle that causes multiple deaths. Here, we
decide a similar question: whether multiple felony
convictions are authorized by Indiana Code section
35-44.1-3-1 where a single act of resisting law enforcement
while operating a vehicle causes the death of one person and
serious bodily injuries to two other people. We reach the
same conclusion as we did in Paquette. As written,
the statute permits only one conviction-in this case, the
highest chargeable offense-for each instance of resisting law
enforcement, regardless of how many people are harmed.
and Procedural History
morning of June 8, 2015, Matthew Edmonds entered a Walmart in
Beech Grove, Indiana. Edmonds was observed stuffing a variety
of food and clothing items into old plastic bags. He then
walked past the point of sale without paying for those items.
The store's asset protection manager, Timothy Dunlop,
called 911 and told dispatchers about the theft. He also
informed them that Edmonds had gotten into a tan Chevy Tahoe
after leaving the store. Dunlop shared the vehicle's
license plate number with dispatchers.
Grove Police Officer Josh Hartman was the first to arrive on
the scene. Officer Darrin McGuire also responded, but he
waited outside the parking lot. When Officer Hartman entered
the lot, he spotted a vehicle matching the description and
pulled up behind it. Edmonds quickly sped off and exited the
Hartman and McGuire immediately gave chase with their lights
and sirens activated. They followed Edmonds as he traveled
northbound on a southbound lane of Emerson Avenue.
Edmonds' vehicle reached speeds upwards of 80 miles per
hour on a 40-mile-per-hour road. When Edmonds entered the
intersection of Emerson Avenue and Raymond Street, he drove
through a gas station, jumped a median, and continued driving
westbound on an eastbound lane of Raymond Street. Law
enforcement, including Indianapolis Metropolitan Police
Department ("IMPD") officers who later joined the
chase, decided that it was too dangerous to keep pursuing
Edmonds at such high speeds. They called off the chase, but
stayed on the lookout for Edmonds.
long afterward, Edmonds re-emerged on State Street, near the
Minnesota Street intersection. Edmonds was seen by IMPD
officers traveling north on State Street's southbound
lanes. Officers followed cautiously and Edmonds continued
north, until he drove past a red light at the intersection of
State Street and Prospect Avenue. At the same time, Donna
Niblock was crossing that intersection in her Ford pickup
truck, traveling west on Prospect Street. Her daughter,
Ladonna Rogers was in the front passenger seat and her
grandson, Johnathan Rogers, was in the back. All three had
their seatbelts fastened.
Edmonds ran the red light, his vehicle collided with the
driver's side of Niblock's truck. The impact flipped
Niblock's truck in the air. Niblock died as a result of
her injuries. Ladonna and Johnathan Rogers survived the
crash, but they each suffered serious bodily injuries.
State charged Edmonds with a total of twelve counts. Among
those were one count for resisting law enforcement by fleeing
in a vehicle causing death, a Level 3 felony; and two counts
for resisting law enforcement by fleeing in a vehicle causing
serious bodily injury, Level 5 felonies. Edmonds was also
charged with four counts related to leaving the scene of an
accident-one for failure to remain at the scene of an
accident with death, a Level 5 felony; two for failure to
remain at the scene of an accident with injury, Level 6
felonies; and one for failure to remain at the scene of an
accident, Class B misdemeanors. Edmonds was found guilty as
charged on all twelve counts.
successfully motioned to receive a judgment on the evidence
on three charges related to driving with a suspended license.
The trial court dismissed those charges, finding that the
State failed to present sufficient evidence to support the
jury's verdict. The trial court also merged the Level 3
felony resisting law enforcement causing the death of another
person charge with the Level 5 felony ...