from the Marion Superior Court No. 49G02-1710-F5-37833. The
Honorable Marc Rothenberg, Judge
Attorney for Appellant Daniel Hageman Marion County Public
Defender Agency Indianapolis, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Caroline G. Templeton Deputy Attorney General
VAIDIK, CHIEF JUDGE.
Following a May 2017 hit and run in Indianapolis that left a
pedestrian dead, Dennis Payne Jr. was convicted of Level 5
felony failure to remain at the scene of an accident
resulting in death and Level 6 felony obstruction of justice.
Payne now appeals, arguing that the police violated his
Fourth Amendment rights when they seized his Toyota
4Runner-which matched the description of the SUV involved in
the hit and run, had front-end damage consistent with a
pedestrian strike, and was parked on a public street-without
a warrant. Because Payne concedes that the police had
probable cause to believe that his 4Runner was involved in
the hit and run and the automobile exception to the warrant
requirement applies to cars parked on property that is open
to the public, we find no Fourth Amendment violation.
and Procedural History
Around 6:30 p.m. on May 19, 2017, Jairo Marquez-Nava called
911 to report a possibly impaired driver in a gray SUV
heading south on Holt Road in Indianapolis. The driver was
swerving and then appeared to be asleep at a stoplight. While
Nava was on the phone with the 911 operator, the light turned
green, and the driver rapidly accelerated. Nava gasped,
"he just hit a lady!" Ex. 1. According to Nava, the
SUV swerved off the road, struck a pedestrian walking in the
grass, and continued onto the Sam Jones Expressway. The
pedestrian, Karen Turner, was transported to Eskenazi
Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Nava stayed on the phone with the 911 operator as he followed
the SUV from the scene of the accident. Nava reported that
the SUV stopped on the shoulder of the Sam Jones Expressway,
where the driver got out and removed a broken piece-which
Nava described as a one-foot shiny object-from the front
passenger side of the SUV. Nava drove past the stopped SUV so
that he did not look suspicious. When he looped back, the SUV
was gone. Nava returned to the scene of the accident to speak
with the police.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Detective Kelley
Rhoda, who works with IMPD's hit-and-run unit, spoke with
Nava. According to Detective Rhoda, Nava told her the
He said that a silver or gray SUV initially dispatched as a
Toyota, and then he said Mitsubishi, struck a woman heading
southbound on Holt, turned onto Sam Jones. He described a
chubby white male, approximately 200 pounds, 5'11"
with black hair wearing a black shirt.
Tr. Vol. II p. 227. Detective Rhoda also learned that the SUV
had "rear window stickers" and a "distinct tow
hitch." Id. at 242-43.
A few days later, Detective Rhoda reviewed video surveillance
recorded around 6:30 p.m. on May 19 from a business along the
Sam Jones Expressway. The video showed "a silver SUV on
Sam Jones heading westbound that pulled over on the shoulder
. . . momentarily and then proceed[ed] to the exit."
Id. at 236. Detective Rhoda determined that the SUV
was "a 2000 to 2002 Toyota 4Runner." Id.
Detective Rhoda then contacted the Indiana Bureau of Motor
Vehicles "for a list of all 2000 to 2002 gray or silver
Toyota 4Runners in Marion County." Id. at 231.
She inspected each of the registered 4Runners for damage
consistent with striking a pedestrian. Finding none, she got
the same information for Morgan County, which borders the
southwest corner of Marion County (according to Detective
Rhoda, the SUV was heading southwest after the hit and run,
see Tr. Vol. III p. 11).
The BMV listed only one 2000 to 2002 silver or gray Toyota
4Runner registered in Morgan County. The registered owner of
this 4Runner was Oklevueha Native American Church located at
7145 Bethany Park in Martinsville, which was ...