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Teen driver sentenced for Indiana crash that killed 3

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 11:20 am

VERSAILLES — A teenage driver who survived a southeastern Indiana crash that killed three other youths will spend 90 days in juvenile detention and surrender his driver's license until age 21.

The 17-year-old driver admitted to charges of reckless homicide and reckless driving during a Ripley County juvenile court hearing Thursday in Versailles, Indiana State Police Sgt. Noel Houze Jr. told The Associated Press.

The teenager choked back sobs throughout the half-hour hearing. The teen will be sent to a juvenile facility in Muncie. He also must complete 350 hours of community service.

"I wish there was something I could say or do," Judge Carl Taul said about his decision. "I'm just glad that I'm not in your shoes."

The teen was driving a pickup truck that crashed into another one March 7. Survivors told police both drivers were trying to beat the other through a rural intersection after leaving a Future Farmers of America event at a nearby church.

All of the teenagers involved were students at South Ripley High School in Versailles. Two passengers in the truck told investigators that the teenage driver sped up and intended to run the stop sign.

Instead, he crashed into another pickup truck that was traveling at a right angle to his, killing the other driver, 17-year-old Thomas C. Bowman, and 18-year-old Jacob Vogel. Samantha R. Hansen, 18, who was riding in the vehicle belonging to the teen who was sentenced Thursday, also died. The trucks were carrying six passengers.

A police report said both drivers ran the stop sign at the intersection. Investigators determined that the surviving driver's truck was traveling between 75 and 81 mph on impact, while Bowman's truck was traveling between 26 and 28 mph. The speed limit in the area is 55 mph.

A month earlier, police had stopped the surviving teenager for driving 85 in a 55 mph zone.