Brunson sentenced in fatal hit-skip accident He’ll serve 16 years after leaving the scene and trying to claim his vehicle was stolen.
“Love you. See you soon.”
Those words were the last spoken by Ricky Reisinger to his wife, Lorri, on Nov. 15, about three minutes before Brody L. Brunson Sr. crashed into Reisinger’s car as he was waiting at a light at the intersection at Coliseum Boulevard and Parnell Avenue. The crash killed Reisinger instantly. That impact also damaged two minivans, which ended up on each side of Reisinger’s 2006 Honda Element.
Brunson, 30, was sentenced Tuesday in Allen Superior Court to serve 16 years of a 20-year term for an assortment of charges in connection with the fatal hit-skip accident, including leaving the scene of an OWI accident resulting in death and operating a vehicle with controlled substances causing death, which specifically relates to the death of Reisinger, 62, of Fort Wayne. Toxicology reports indicate Brunson had THC and hydrocodone in his bloodstream at the time of the crash.
Reisinger, who died of blunt-force trauma, was the 29th traffic fatality in 2016.
Lorri Reisinger said May 1 would have been their 40th wedding anniversary. “Memories are all I have left of him,” she said at Brunson’s sentencing.
His daughter, Vanessa Sheckler, also addressed the court and Brunson. “I wish I had one more day to tell him I love him. There’s not a day I don’t think about him. Some mistakes you can never take back,” she said.
Brunson also pleaded guilty to five charges – three counts of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and two counts of failing to stop at the scene of an accident – relating to the other five victims involved, including one in a car seat.
Brunson admitted his guilt April 25 and said he was driving a maroon 2000 Buick Regal eastbound on Coliseum at about 1:35 p.m. Nov. 15 when he crashed into Reisinger’s SUV.
Brunson then ran south from the crash scene toward Kroger, setting off a police search of the area. Kroger surveillance video showed Brunson walking south into the fuel center at 1:35 p.m. to use a phone. Brunson became a suspect and was later arrested after he called police to try to report his vehicle as stolen and police realized he matched the description of the driver seen leaving the scene of the crash.
Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Adam Mildred told Allen County Superior Court Judge John Surbeck that Brunson knew he was on probation at the time of the accident and has been charged before with leaving the scene of an accident. Mildred said Brunson also changed his clothes and called his father instead of trying to help people who were involved in the accident.
“He’s an absolute menace out there and then calls to report the car stolen,” Mildred told the court.
Brunson told Reisinger’s family, “I would trade my life for his. I’m sorry I killed your husband. I’m sorry I killed your father. There will never be another day where he’ll wrap his arms around them. There will never be another day where he’ll tell them he loves them.”
Surbeck ordered Brunson to be under community control the first year of the four years of probation and suspended his driver’s license the first two years of his probation.
Brunson also must serve two years for a probation violation. He has 196 days’ jail credit in that case and one day credit in this case. After sentencing, Sheckler said, “I hope he meant it. In time we will see. It’s time to go on.
Mildred said, “No sentence is worth the terrible decisions Mr. Brunson made. One hundred years is not worth a husband and father.”