A car identified as belonging to Republican State Rep. Mike Murphy was involved in a hit-and run crash behind an Indianapolis bar late last month, police said.
A black Infiniti with State Representative license No. 49, which is registered to Michael Murphy, hit Lekitia Thomas' (pictured) parked vehicle behind Ike and Jonesy's bar downtown just after midnight Sept. 23, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.
Two witnesses said the car's driver took off without leaving a note. When Thomas got to her car, witnesses said they had seen the crash and had retrieved the license number.
Jerry Beeler took pictures of the Infiniti, which shows damage on the left-rear, three days after Murphy denied having been involved in the crash and said he wouldn't fix the damage, Thomas told police.
"I told him, 'That's OK, I'll contact the media. Within 30 seconds, they accepted liability, said they wanted to fix my car because he is a public figure and they did not want this to get out into the media," Thomas said.
Thomas said Murphy and his insurance company agreed to cover the $1,600 in damage done to her car and that it was repaired on Tuesday, Rinehart reported.
Murphy told 6News that he had been at the bar briefly on the night in question and that he called his insurance company to report damage to his car the next day, but did not recall hitting another vehicle.
Murphy said he told his insurance company to settle Thomas' claim.
Police said they began investigating the hit and run three days ago. Intentionally leaving a property damage accident is a misdemeanor. "We're handling it like any other case," said Indianapolis Metro police Sgt. Jan Kistler. "If we can get a driver identified, it will be dealt with accordingly.
Thomas, a full-time working mother and college student, said she needed her car, not a hassle.
"The whole experience really upset me because if I was to do a hit and run, they would have personally come to lock me up, and I would've been in jail," Thomas said.
Oddly, police told Rinehart they are leaving it up to the victim as to whether criminal charges will be filed against Murphy. Drivers involved in accidents like this after consuming alcohol in a bar often flee the scene out of fear they will be cited for drunk driving if they stop and allow a police officer to be summoned to the scene to fill out a police report.
Murphy's legislative district includes parts of Perry, Franklin and Warren Townships. Murphy faced a relatively strong primary opponent last year. An issue like this could be enough to sink his political career in this heavily Republican district if a credible opponent decides to challenge him in next year's primary.