4 years in prison for driver in 421 fatality
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 11:00 AM
A Scottsburg man was sentenced to eight years - four in prison and four on probation - Tuesday after pleading guilty to a charge of reckless homicide.
Phillip Stidham, 50, was charged with the Aug. 12, 2012, death of Jennifer Stepp, 26.
Stidham pleaded guilty to reckless homicide, a Class C felony, which is punishable by two to eight years in prison. In addition to the prison time, Stidham will also pay $468.50 in fines and fees and will have his driver's license suspended for at least two years.
Police responded to an accident on U.S. 421 north of County Road 400-N around 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 12, 2012. Stidham, who had been driving a Dodge Avenger, struck a Duke Energy truck that was stopped along the side of the road for transformer maintenance.
Stepp was a passenger in Stidham's car.
Authorities pronounced Stepp dead at the scene of "significant head trauma," according to the police report. Stepp was not believed to have been wearing a seat belt.
Crash reconstructionists determined Stidham had been driving about 78 mph just before the accident, braking to 62 mph within a second before impact.
Officers also determined Stidham had several drugs in his system at the time of the crash, including Xanax, THC (marijuana), morphine and hydrocodone.