Bedford Woman Killed in Bloomington Crash

by Staff on July 20, 2010 · 49 comments

in Local

Gwendolyn Marie SandersAn accident in Bloomington claimed the life of a Yellow Cab Company driver this morning. 31-year-old Gwendolyn Marie Sanders of Bedford died from head and chest injuries after 21-year-old Bryce Leighton, a self-described “party animal”, according to his Facebook profile, struck her taxi head-on in the 2700 block of South Leonard Springs Road.

Sergeant Pam Gladish of the Bloomington Police Department, in her preliminary report, stated that a silver passenger car driven by Leighton was northbound on South Leonard Springs Road just before 7 a.m. Sgt. Gladish said that it appeared that Leighton passed at least one vehicle on a double-yellow as it crested a hill, then struck Sanders’ southbound cab head-on.

Leighton was not wearing his seat belt, according to BPD Lt. David Drake, and was partially ejected from the vehicle. He was transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with head injuries and serious burns to his right hand and arm.  Sanders was wearing her seat belt, Drake said.

Sgt. John Kovach, accident reconstructionist, was working to determine the speed of the vehicles at the time of the accident.

UPDATE 4:44 p.m.: On June 8, 2009, Leighton was charged in Monroe County with one count of Intimidation, a  Class D Felony, and one count of Battery Resulting in Bodily Injury against James Cazee. On September 22, he pled guilty to the battery charge and the intimidation charge was dismissed. He was ordered to serve 30 days in jail and given credit for nine days already served.

47 comments
Cara Wallace
Cara Wallace

Do any of you remember the day when you could trust your neighbor? Or when you could let your children outside to play without the fear of someone taking them? Or how about when you could go trick or treating till midnight? What the hell happened to the world we knew? Well it's all full of people full of hate, and rage just like Dan Mullis here who thinks he can take the law into his own hands. Or people who have no value on human life anymore.I don't hate Bryce for what he did, i have my opinions but i have no right to pass judgement on another human being, and neither do any of you.

Cari Flynn
Cari Flynn

I am the cousin of Gwen, and for starters I can't stand to sit and listen to people say this was simply an accident. My cousin chose to do her job faithfully, and she was on her way to pick up her last passenger. I can only imagine what was going through her mind. "Oh this is my last passenger and I am home bound, I get to go home and see my little man Brian. I can't wait to see his beautiful smile, to hold him and kiss him." Oh but wait, she didn't get to do that. Instead she was taken from him and all of her family. She was taken by a young man that chose to live his life in stupidity. He took her from us, and from her little boy, he took her from my uncle, and her mother. They will never get to see her again, or hear her laugh, or see her beautiful smile that could light up the world. Gwen was an angel,and she was sent here to bring life to our family. This young man decided to steal a car from a party, and drive at a high rate of speed, in the wrong lane while let's not forget HIGHLY INTOXICATED took the life of my cousin, a mother, a friend, a daughter, a niece, and a grandchild. He should be held accountable for the rest of his life. Living with the guilt of this is not enough pain for him. I actually have to sit and think "is he really going to regret this, or will he ever have remorse"? Someone that continues to do wrong, and make bad choices most of the time "doesn't learn their lesson". So you all have to really sit back and consider all the feelings in this. I am not saying that it is not wrong to say "I am glad a life was saved", but at the same time one special life was taken. I am jealous that God get's to spend it with her instead of her little boy Brian. I could never imagine what that little guy has ahead of him without a mother. Thanks

Tim Fulford (3232)
Tim Fulford (3232)

Yesterday I might have agreed with that. I've calmed down a bit now. We have to let the legal system deal with it, and trust me, he won't get off easy. What we need to focus on now is Gwen's family and most importantly, taking care of her son.

dan mullis
dan mullis

I pray his friends & family see this. WE WANT BLOOD!!!!!! & so does my Smith & Wesson .40 cal

lisa
lisa

Very true Dan. jail time is not enough for this monster.

dan mullis
dan mullis

The real fact is, people like Bryce do what ever they want because the justice system gives them a slap on the hand every time they do something wrong. Well, now people like me are sick of it! we are getting picked off left & right! The scales of justice will never be even as long as the justice system keeps doing what it does now. We need to make an example out of Bryce. Take him out on the court house lawn & put two in his head!!!!!!!!!!!!

steven
steven

Thank you Dan. its about time someone does whats needed. This trash deserves a bullet between the eyes and if Dan doesnt do it, I will!!!!

dan mullis
dan mullis

Hey Bryce, do yourself a favor & stay in jail. Because the moment you walk out on that street, I am going to give you a special gift!!!! You & all your defenders are going strait to hell & I hope im the one who sends you there!!!!!

Tim Fulford (3232)
Tim Fulford (3232)

Ya know....when all is said and done.....we are only looking for the Scales of Justice to be back even. I have compassion for Bryce Leighton and how he is suffering at the moment (disregarding my personal hurt), but his injuries to not mitigate any of his responsibility for his actions. My comment about the mural was wrong, and I take that back, but I do believe he deserves to spend alot of days contemplating the results of his actions in a jail cell. He took away a daughter, sister, mother, and friend, not to mention a co-worker to alot of good people who are out their on the road doing a great service to the public. At the end of the day, the Scales of Justice still have to be back level.

chodie
chodie

All I can say is "WOW".....Really? It was an accident and nobody's fault? Hello, it was completely his fault. Far beyond over the legal limit, passing cars on a double yellow, going well over the marked "30 mph" speed limit, stolen car, no license, stolen guns that still have not been found....the list goes on and on. NO excuses should be made for him and you should not expect the public to take this lightly. HE made the decision to get drunk and get behind the wheel.

Tim Fulford (3232)
Tim Fulford (3232)

Suggest you check the facts....he had a BAC of .23, Gwen DID have a seat belt on, and he was completely in her lane at the time he hit her. In fact, he was beside another car at the point of impact.....quite a bit more than and few inches over the line. Take a look at what is left of her cab. I hope that they make it a mural on the wall of his prison cell.

Tim Fulford (3232)
Tim Fulford (3232)

I keep seeing Bryce Michael Leighton 's defenders using terms like "accident" "mistake" and "bad decision". When he chose to consume alcohol while underage and steal a car, he gave up the right to any of those terms being applied to him. The term that does apply is "Wanton Disregard for Human Life". Murder.

Jay
Jay

Well the murder was not intentional. They obviously call it ACCIDENT for a reason. And he was not drunk he was avoiding it. And if you seen the pictures of the crash it only did damage to the drivers side. So he only crossed that double line by only an inch or to. These damn reporters just want to juice up thier story. It was noones fault! I dont see why anyone would intentionaly not wear thier seatbelt and get into a collission with another car dead on. Screw that. Bryce is suffering from critical injuries. And living the rest of his life with the thought of this in his head forever. Bryce will never be able to get over this. And he will have to live everyday with these mental and physical injuries for the rest of his life as well. What would you want to happen to yourself if it was you instead of him. You have to put yourself in his shoes to. If it was him that had died instead of her, then everyone would think it wad herfault. Thats whats wrong with sone of you people. You dont think.

alyssa
alyssa

jay dont take it out on him?! what the fu%@ is wrong with you? this guy bryce deserves to serve more than 40 years of jail.... he killed someone so that makes it a murder and IT was HIS fault.... he doesnt deserve to be alive....people like him make me sick, i dont care about his mother because at least he is going to be alive but what about gwen? she is dead and there is no fix for that. whoever thinks that bryce doesnt deserve to be hated for this is WRONG.

Jay
Jay

Bryce is a very dear friend of mine. And went to the hospital to see him today. The injuries are far more worse than what was published. A broken hand, and a broken pelvic bone, including a broken back. Bryce is lucky to be alive. I know his intentions were not bad. And those that were close to the deceased woman bryce and i give you our most sincerity. He does not even remember what happened do to heavy head injuries. Dont blame someone for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And i also agree with cara. You have a very strong point of view. Please dk not take it out on him. Again our most sincerity.

Nikki
Nikki

I can't help but think that maybe Bryce surrounded himself with enablers that made excuses for him? Maybe someone that cared so deeply for this man could have seen he obviously had some issues. You can talk all day about how sad it is for Bryce, his friends and family but if they truly cared wouldn't the time to take action have been before he got behind the wheel drunk and committed a murder? There are programs (AA) for people with these kind of problems. The only tragedy here is the fact that a child's mother was taken from him. I feel no sympathy for someone who chooses to get behind the wheel of a car intoxicated. I am relieved that this scum is off of the road. A long, lonely life rotting in a prison cell is exactly what he needs and deserves.

RCL
RCL

Cara, I think any parent would stand by their child and love them no matter what, but that doesn't excuse his actions. The judicial system will decide his fate.

chodie
chodie

Creating a juicy story? No, showing the facts and the character of the person is not making a juicy story.

Randall
Randall

If more people were held responsible for their actions perhaps fewer decent, honest hard working people would lose their lives due to criminal actions of others. Of course we all would stand behind our loved ones no matter what, but we wouldn't allow them to drive drunk. And if we are aware of reckless driving or other harmful behaviors we would try to persuade that person to change those behaviors. Nobody wants to see this type of tragedy happen. So young, so sad, all the best to the family.

Jeremy
Jeremy

@Cara: Today he was charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor in connection with the crash. Please see today's article, Driver Charged in Fatal Accident, for more details.

Cara Wallace
Cara Wallace

"Police are waiting on a toxicology report to see if drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash." Taken from channel 8 news. Proclaiming yourself a full fledged party animal doesn't make you a killer. I feel horrible for Gwen's family but if it was my son that did this i wouldn't stop loving him because he made a horrible decision.He had one count of intimidation, you act like he has several DUI's. My point is i do feel for both families as you all should. I am sure he did not intend to kill someone when he made the decision to pass on a hill. He has to live with this everyday for the rest of his life. I never said jail time wasn't called for, or that he should not be punished. Oh and i have a son who has aspergers disease, which is a high functioning form of autism. He doesn't always make the best decisions, but if he did this i wouldn't abandon him. I would be there for him because i love him. Think how Bryce's mother feels. For Gwen's friends and family you truly have my deepest sympathy. You are in my prayers.

Katina
Katina

Gwen was a very Special Person! She will be missed! As for Mr. Leighton, he does deserve the full sentence and Cara as for you he did make Mistakes and that mistake took away a life, a Mother ... A friend, a loved on from our hearts... We will never see her again... As for the horrible mistakes that Bryce Leighton made, he needs to suffer the consequence of his bad choices. The thing is you will be able to visit and have a conversation with your loved one, and there was no choice for Gwen. Leighton made the choice it for her by acting irresponsible and careless. WE LOVE YOU GWEN!!!

RCL
RCL

While I understand Cara's thoughts, I can't help to also think that he CHOSE to make those bad decisions. Serial killers, rapists, child abductors all have families who care about them, but that does not excuse the bad choices they made. We all have to live with the consequences of our actions, and his action was to drive drunk which resulted in someone dying. His consequence may be physical pain, emotional pain, and most decidely - jail time. She was an innocent bystander doing her job, driving her taxi cab. He CHOSE to get on the road and create a dangerous situation for all involved. I keep thinking over and over again about those people he passed on the double yellow who witnessed this horrific accident. Along with Gwen's family, my prayers are with them today. I also pray for Bryce's family who did not ask for this situation to occur. His decisions are not their fault. A sad, sad situation for all involved. I hope this keeps at least one person from drinking and driving in the future.

J.J
J.J

Cara, How can you sit there and feel sorry for him? I feel so sorry for her family and they are the only ones suffering, not him. He should live with the thought of killing someone and he should be in prison with her picture so he can see the women he killed cause of his dumb decision to drink and drive. He is 21 and old enough to know right from wrong. I totally agree with the others on here and I think you need to think about this more. Here's something for you to think about. The time it happened; what if school was in,kids wait on that road for their bus. What if he killed someone's kids? Would you still feel bad for him? My prayers go out to the real victim's family! She was a very sweet cab driver,I'll miss riding in her cab.

Mike
Mike

He passed on a double yellow line on a blind hil and took another persons life due to his stupidity. Unfortuantly he can't be locked up for life because our laws don't allow for that lengthy of a sentence. However he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, not allowed a plea deal, and receive the maximum sentence possible!

Cara
Cara

I can not imagine losing my mother and I hope I never have to. However, I would never wish for someone who I know would never intentionally hurt another person or their family in this way to basically lose their life as well, rotting away in prison. I understand your anger, but please do not forget that Bryce was also a friend, a son, and a very loved brother. He has made some horrible mistakes, but we can't forget that this was an accident. He made a bad decision that resulted in a terrible fate. He will not only live with that guilt but the physical scars and physical problems he will face. Mitchell News is only another media source trying to get a rise out of the community by posting his personal profile, his past record, and his "party animal" proclamation to create a juicy story. Rather than focusing on the good of the person that has been lost, they focus on the bad of the person who survived. Everyone makes bad decisions, to say that he doesn't care about anyone because they each were in the wrong place at the wrong time is an absolute ridiculous statement. I'm sorry for the hurt, but each person has family, each person has good, and he does care, an extreme amount for many people. Again, I'm so very sorry for this loss, as well as the three other losses I have experienced in only the last 3 days, but I'm so very happy that Bryce did not die as well. Each life is precious, and those who have lost someone should never wish for any bad on others, because the people in their lives are also affected by awful circumstances.

Heather
Heather

RIP Gwen...You will be missed!! Love ya girl!

Tim Fulford (3232)
Tim Fulford (3232)

Gwen was a close and special friend. My thoughts and prayers our out to her family and child, and to all her extended family at the cab company.

theresa harris
theresa harris

That guy that kill Gwen needs to be put in jail fot the rest of his life. He killed a women that had a young son. It is apperant that he does not care about anybody else.

dan mullis
dan mullis

with all do respect tim, I dont care who does or does not agree with me. he took a life so his life should be taken. Im sick & tired of hearing about this crap happening to good people. Its time someone stands up with a loaded pistol & stops this. As for bryce, you better hope you get life in prision. Thats the only thing thats going to keep you alive!!!!!! I will never forget you for as long as I live!!!!!!

social worker
social worker

@ Tim Fulford: Bryce was not underage. I know WISH TV is reporting him as 19, but in fact he is 21. I just don't want to see inaccuracies spread further.

Bob Eakle
Bob Eakle

No, Jay, the death was not intentional--that's what makes it reckless homicide instead of first-degree murder. A BAC of .23 means he WAS drunk several times over. How was it no one's fault? He passed over the double yellow line at a hillcrest, so it was HIS fault! Everyone looks out for his own best interest, of course, but it hardly follows that criminals should not be punished. Why do I have to put myself in his shoes? I will never be in his shoes, because I will never drive drunk and pass across a double yellow line at a hillcrest. If he had died instead of her, I would not think it was her fault; I would think justice was served without the courts.

J.J
J.J

I just want you to know if it was my own flesh and blood that had done something like this,I'd be hurt but yet so angry they took a life. Jay, you really need to stop defending and start seeing the truth here. A life is been lost do to his actions. You need to understand that evidences tells all. I understand if he is related and you feel you need to defend him but Jay,he choose this and now he has to deal with it. I pray for Gwen's family. God Bless them.

Katina
Katina

WTF.... Wrong place wrong time? She was living her daily life.... it was not wrong place wrong time.... I am so sick of that excuse!

Cara Wallace
Cara Wallace

I never said it would excuse his actions and he does deserve the jail time.

Cara Wallace
Cara Wallace

I stand corrected. Thank you Jeremy.He does deserve the fullest punishment. I feel so much sorrow about the whole situation. I still would be there for my son if it was him.

Bob Eakle
Bob Eakle

Cara: So they each were in the wrong place at the wrong time? So we can't forget it was an accident? WRONG! The cab driver was in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time, doing exactly what she was supposed to be doing. It was only the CRIMINAL who was at the wrong place, doing what he should not have been doing. Too bad he wasn't the one killed. He'll have to live with the guilt and the physical scars and physical problems. Awww, poor baby!

scott mullis
scott mullis

It makes me sick when I read this kind of gargage. So very typical. You cant stand to bare it when a criminal is shown for what they really are. Yes people are angry at this murder and they should be. He thought only about himself when he CHOSE to drive and drunk. Making that choice turns it into murder, not an accident!!!! Get this through your thick head!!! When you drink and drive, everyone you pass is your victim. Drunk drivers belong right next to all the other murders in hell. As I see it, life in prision is not enough. It should be life six feet under my feet!!!!!

Cara Wallace
Cara Wallace

I couldn't agree with you more Cara. When i read the replies i was shocked to hear the hate towards Bryce. To all those people i say " what if that was your son?" I too feel very bad for Gwen's family and friends, but Bryce spending the rest of his life in jail will not bring her back. Think before you judge others. That is one of the problems with the world today. Where the hell did the compassion and sympathy go?

Tim Fulford (3232)
Tim Fulford (3232)

I agree. Gwen was more of a friend to me than I can ever explain.

lexxi
lexxi

bryce was a good friend of mine and you dont know anything about him. i note that bryce loveed life and never meant to harm anyone.

rhia
rhia

amen to that sister!!

jj
jj

taking his life will not bring gwen back it will only cause more pain im gwens cousin and if you know her you know she wouldnt wish harm to anyone she was so sweet we will never get over what has happened and just like leightons family we learn to live with it thats all that can ever be done

Krista
Krista

We might ask you that same question...what if it were YOUR son Cara? And, your son had publicly proclaimed himself to be a full fledged PARTY ANIMAL??? and then did this to someone else's family? I could see not being so judgemental had the boy NOT been drinking, or had previous convictions, if it were merely and "ACCIDENT"...but not when someone repeatadly makes a choice to do so. There is a difference. So NO, I don't feel sorry for him at all....he may have his freedom taken away from him, but Gwen has lost her entire life.

Sigh
Sigh

Oh that Bryce looks like a real upstanding guy. Drinking and driving, battery charges. Sounds like a real swell guy.

Sigh
Sigh

Krista better said this. Why exactly should we feel sorry for a guy who is like this regularly? Drunk driving is never an accident, its completely preventable.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Judge Mary Ellen Diekhoff found today that probable cause existed to charge Bryce Michael Leighton (facebook), 2005 S Rogers Street, Lot 22, Bloomington in connection with Tuesday’s automobile collision in Bloomington. […]

  2. […] According to police reports, Leighton stole a Pontiac Grand Prix that belonged to a person at the home. It is this vehicle that, police say, he was driving when he passed another vehicle on a double-yellow line as he crested a hill, colliding with Sanders’ cab. […]

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