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  • The Star Press

    Henry County man, 19, charged with striking pedestrian while driving drunk, fleeing scene

    By Douglas Walker, Muncie Star Press,


    NEW CASTLE, Ind. — A Henry County man is accused of striking a pedestrian while driving drunk and then fleeing from the scene.

    Justin Charles Swinehart, 19, of Spiceland, is charged in Henry Circuit Court 2 with leaving the scene of an accident, causing serious bodily injury when driving while intoxicated and illegal consumption of alcohol.

    Henry County deputies were sent to Spiceland about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, June 9, after emergency dispatchers received a report of a pedestrian being run down.

    A deputy and Sheriff John Sproles took Swinehart into custody reportedly as he was in the process of returning to the scene of the incident at the direction of his father.

    The father told a deputy that the younger Swinehart indicated he had left the scene "because he was scared."

    Deputies said Justin Swinehart smelled of an alcoholic beverage and showed signs of intoxication. A breath test measured his blood-alcohol content at 0.146.

    In Indiana, motorists with a BAC of 0.08 or higher are considered intoxicated.

    The victim — a Spiceland woman — told deputies she had just arrived at her home and was in the process of getting out of her vehicle when Swinehart's vehicle, a Toyota Scion, struck her.

    She was taken by ambulance to Henry County Hospital for treatment of head and arm injuries.

    The leaving-the-scene charge against Swinehart is a Level 3 felony carrying up to 16 years in prison. The DWI count is a Level 5 felony with a maximum six-year sentence.

    Swinehart — being held in the Henry County jail under an $8,000 surety bond and a $900 cash bond — had received an Oct. 28 trial date from Judge Kit Crane.

    The Spiceland resident already faced a count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, filed against him in February 2003 in Henry Circuit Court 1.

    He reportedly signed a plea agreement in that case in April and was scheduled to formally enter a guilty plea on July 28.

    Swinehart also faces misdemeanor counts of public intoxication and illegal consumption of alcohol, both filed in Henry Circuit Court 3 in August.

    Douglas Walker is a news reporter at The Star Press. Contact him at 765-213-5851 or at

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