Plea deal in SR 7 crash that killed 2
Friday, December 30, 2011 10:00 AM
A Madison man pleaded guilty Thursday, admitting he recklessly killed two North Vernon women in a car accident in March 2010 on State Road 7.
Michael Steven Scroggins II, 33, agreed to a plea deal that had him plead guilty to two counts of reckless homicide, a Class C felony, and one count of criminal recklessness, also a Class C felony. Special Judge Sally Blankenship took the guilty plea under advisement pending a pre-sentence investigation.
According to court records, Scroggins was headed southbound on State Road 7 in a green Chevy pick-up truck at 4:20 p.m. on March 2, 2010. His vehicle crossed into the northbound lane and struck a red Jeep Liberty head-on.
Bonnie Ramey-Low, 67, who was driving the Jeep, was declared dead at the scene. Lois Robinson, 60, died shortly after the crash at King's Daughters' Hospital. Cindy Speer, a passenger in Ramey-Low's car, suffered a fracture and severe chest injuries.
"We believe this is a good resolution for the victims, who don't have to go through a trial," Prosecutor Chad Lewis said.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop five counts of criminal recklessness. Each of the charges Scroggins pleaded guilty to is for each woman who was in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Prosecutors had been attempting to add several charges to Scroggins' case after a deposition with Jessica Short, who was a passenger in Scroggins' vehicle.
Lewis said Short said in the deposition that Scroggins had given her pills and marijuana. The prosecution tried to add two counts of dealing a controlled substance and one count of dealing marijuana to the case. Lewis said Short admitted she and Scroggins had smoked marijuana the day before the crash.
Given that information, the prosecution also tried to add two charges of causing death of another person while operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance and one count of causing serious bodily injury with marijuana in the body.
As part of the plea agreement, the prosecution agreed to withdraw their request to add those charges.
The most recent hearing in the case was over whether blood samples taken from Ramey-Low's chest could be taken into evidence. At the hearing, Jason Pattison and Jennifer Culotta, the two defense attorneys on the case, showed toxicology reports that Ramey-Low had four different types of medication in her system that could have side effects of dizziness and drowsiness.
Blankenship ruled the evidence could not be admitted because no scientific studies had determined the reliability of a post-mortem blood draw from the chest cavity.
Lewis is not sure at this point how much prison time he will recommend for Scroggins at the sentencing hearing. Class C felonies carry a range of two to eight years in prison. The sentences can be stacked, so Scroggins faces a maximum prison sentence of 24 years.
Scroggins' sentencing hearing will be held at 9 a.m. Jan. 20, 2012, in Jefferson Superior Court.