Driver Charged in Fatal Accident

by Staff on July 21, 2010 · 14 comments

in Local

Handcuffs and Jail Bars

The 21-year-old self-described “party animal” who was responsible for causing the accident that killed 31-year-old Gwen Sanders of Bedford was charged today in Monroe Circuit Court 3.

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

Leighton was charged with a total of five counts:

  • Causing Death When Operating a Motor Vehicle with an ACE of .15 or More, a Class B Felony
  • Causing Death When Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated, a Class C Felony
  • Reckless Homicide, a Class C Felony
  • Theft, a Class D Felony
  • Knowingly or Intentionally Operating Motor Vehicle w/o Ever Receiving a License, a Class C Misdemeanor

He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

A warrant for his arrest has been issued. Bond was set in the amount of $100,000 surety and $1,000 cash.

UPDATE 4:23pm:

A commenter on the Herald-Times, identified as “Justin Case”, wrote:

He had been at a party all night drinking with friends who were awaken by the police early this morning. He also stole the silver car he was driving and stole guns which were not found in the vehicle or anywhere at the scene. Prayers to this young ladies famiy and to her 4 month old daughter who will never really get to know her mother.

UPDATE 7:05pm:

The owner of the Pontiac Grand Prix that Leighton was driving reported that he caused a disturbance at a party in the 2600 block of South Leonard Springs Road and was asked by the residents to leave. She told Bloomington Police that he left on foot and did not have permissions to drive the car. It has since been reported stolen to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Leighton had a preliminary blood-alcohol content of .23 percent. He remains at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and will be taken directly into custody upon his release.

13 comments
Alice
Alice

actually, I was there that night. It wasn't a "party". My friend and I weren't drinking. My friend was at her brother's house and her car was stolen without permission. And he WAS asked to leave that night. It was terrible to wake up to the police letting my friend know her car was totaled and a woman with a young child had died. He was asked to leave that night. He was out of control. It has nothing to do with being a "good" friend. He was asked to leave, and no one expected him to steal guns, a car, and kill someone. He is an adult, he made his own decision, and he deserves to pay just like anyone else who killed someone would have. And my friend didn't even get money from the accident even though her car was totaled. So try holding your tongue before you know the whole story.

Sam
Sam

This is such a tragic event, for everyone involved. Some lost a dear friend, a loving family member. Yet another lost his freedom, dreams, and will forever be haunted by what happened. I am not in anyway supporting Bryce's decision or implying he should not be held responsible for his actions. It just sickens me to see so much hate towards this young man, even to the point of wishing rape upon him. Hate and anger are not going to make things better or bring this dear woman back. I hope when someone you love makes a mistake, people are not so eager to condemn them.

Witness
Witness

I saw this wreck, he flew past me like I was standing still right before he crashed into that poor woman. Drunk or not, you have to be a complete idiot to pass at 70 mph near the top of a hill. I watched that woman die while he moaned in pain. I have no sympathy for him.

chodie
chodie

I am sorry, but I truly have no sympathy for any guilt that he may go through. For one, this is no accident. He was completely drunk and chose to get behind the wheel and endanger anyone's life that was out on the road. For another, he was driving a vehicle that he stole! And it is obvious that this is not his first offense. I don't understand why people want sympathy for him when he is the last person that deserves ANY sympathy out of this whole ordeal. I am sure it is hard on his loved ones, but they should also be very upset that their loved one did this to someone else and not be so eager to try and defend the horrible things that he did. I am sure his loved ones would be very eager to see his murderer get the ultimate punishment if this had been done to him instead.

Jeremy
Jeremy

@LuckyYou: Think of the motherless 4-year-old that Gwen leaves behind due to Bryce's stupidity. Think of what he has to go through for the rest of his life. Think of that boy's family.

LuckyYou
LuckyYou

You didnt know bryce they make it seem a whole lot worse than it was yes he killed someone and yes hes a idiot for driving drunk yes but think of the guilt my friend has to go through for the rest of his life.. think of this boys family.

chodie
chodie

This is so sad! I hope he gets the fullest punishment possible, but it still won't be enough.

social worker
social worker

Well put Sam. It is very easy to judge until one of OUR loved ones is on trial. Human nature causes us to make exceptions/excuses for behavior when someone we love makes a mistake or a bad decision. The situation is devastating for all those involved on BOTH sides; remember, Bryce has a family dealing with this too, and they aren't responsible for this tradegy, they are simply dealing with grief like everyone else involved.

J.J
J.J

I am crying cause I didn't realize just had bad it was til your few words. I am sooooo sad for her family whom have lost someone and can never see again. Her child will never know her and that's very heartbreaking. I rode in a cab with her several times and she was the nicest person you'd ever meet. This guy should get what he deserves. Why the hell didn't someone stop him???????????????????? He had someone real good friends there,I thought friends helped each other and stop a friend from stupid decisions.I guess not or they weren't good friends after all.

Eric
Eric

This is tragic. Some rotten kid gets hammered and recklessly drives with a BAC of .23 at 7 am - passing other cars on a double yellow???? I don't care how sorry this kid is, and how bad he's hurt. He doesn't deserve to go to jail for 40 years. He deserves worse. However his "friends" have already thrown him under the bus. The homeowner of the party site is ducking responsibility by saying they had asked Leighton to leave - yeah right. And no doubt the "stolen car" story is bogus also - just to keep the family from sueing the car owner. I'm betting the owner of that car was at the party with the driver all night. I'm also betting the theft wasn't "reported" until well after the accident occurred.

jess
jess

thanks jeremy im gwens cousin and we will miss her dearly and you are absolutely right

MyName
MyName

You have got to be kidding! Think of your friend's guilt? I hope your friend rots or becomes someone's playtoy in prison. They make it seem worse then it was? Let's see, he stole a car, stole guns, drove drunk, passed in a no passing zone and killed someone. So explain how it wasn't really too bad.

Eric
Eric

I can certainly empathize with his family and their pain. Their son did something very, very stupid, and they too will pay for the damages. His legal and medical bills are going to be monumentally costly - and I'm guessing his family is already starting to get a picture of what that's going to look like. However their hands are not clean either. There are signs all over the place that this guy was out of control. Look at the facebook page, the prior arrest record, etc... This kid has no discipline whatsoever. It's possible that he was the rebellious type and a good family couldn't reel him in, but that's pretty rare. And you friends of his - you've not only thrown him under the bus to save your own skin, you've endangered the community by letting him get away with this crap - probably for a long time.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Leighton faces decades in prison if convicted on all charges. His attorney, however, has filed a motion to sever as well as a motion to suppress the blood alcohol test results. If granted, the most serious charges Leighton faces would likely be dismissed. A hearing on those motions is set for October 17 in Monroe Circuit Court. Here are a few recent articles similar to this one:Murder Charges Filed in Stacey Lawson Case […]

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