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Charges filed in fatality on U.S. 421
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Thursday, June 06, 2013 11:00 AM
Police arrested Phillip Stidham, 50, of Scottsburg, after an investigation into a vehicle crash that resulted in the death of Jennifer Stepp, 26, of Fairfield, Ohio. (Photo courtesy of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department)
Sheriff's deputies have made another arrest stemming from a fatal traffic accident, making it the second such arrest in as many weeks.
Phillip Stidham, 50, of Scottsburg, was arrested Wednesday in connection to a fatal crash on Aug. 12, 2012, on U.S. 421 just north of Michigan Road. The passenger in Stidham's vehicle was found dead at the scene.
Stidham is charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death, a Class B felony; reckless homicide, a Class C felony; criminal recklessness, a Class C felony; criminal recklessness resulting in serious bodily injury, a Class C felony; and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a Class A misdemeanor.
He was taken to the Jefferson County Jail.
A blood analysis performed by the Indiana State Department of Toxicology determined that at the time of the crash, Stidham's blood contained Xanax, marijuana, morphine, hydrocodone and a metabolite of morphine consistent with heroin use, police said.
A toxicology report also suggested the levels of the drugs in Stidham's system were consistent with levels when impairment would begin, the affidavit said.
Upon arriving to the scene of the early-morning crash, officers found Jennifer D. Stepp, 26, of Fairfield, Ohio, dead on the side of the road, having been ejected from Stidham's vehicle, police said.
Stepp suffered "significant head trauma in the crash," according to the probable cause affidavit. Police suspected Stepp was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.
Police determined the 2011 gray Dodge Avenger driven by Stidham struck a Duke Energy truck stopped on the shoulder of the southbound lane. After striking the Duke Energy truck, Stidham lost control of the vehicle and the Dodge Avenger flipped several times, according to police.
The driver of the Duke Energy truck was working on a transformer and was not injured.
Officers obtained a warrant for the Dodge Avenger's vehicle event data recorder and determined Stidham had been traveling at 78 mph prior to airbag deployment, the affidavit said.
The driver hit the brakes less than one second before hitting the truck, slowing to 62 mph at impact, the affidavit said.
A crash reconstructionist from the Indiana State Police concluded in his report that the Duke Energy truck was partially in the roadway, but all warning lights on the vehicle were working properly at the time of the wreck, according to the affidavit.
Last week, officers arrested Sean D. Monroe, 25, of Madison, on similar charges that resulted from a January crash at Clifty Drive and Interstate Block Road that killed Billy M. Deveary, 79. Toxicology reports found speed, Valium, Xanax, marijuana and methadone, among other drugs, in Monroe's system, police said.
LET PHIL GO! HE DID NOTHING BUT LOVE JEN ,
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6/6/2013 12:57:00 PM
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