It turns out the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle is a prominent woman in the local community. Although she met with investigators on Friday at a meeting scheduled by her attorney to give her statement, Henry Co. Sheriff Butch Baker and County Prosecutor Kit Crane ordered her not to be arrested. Fox59 News' Kimberly King explains:
Fox 59 has learned the female suspect in the hit and run that killed Greenfield Police Officer Will Phillips turned herself in on Friday.King notes this is not the first time Crane has taken active steps in handling investigations normally left to police when a prominent local resident is suspected of committing a crime. She cites the questionable way he handled fatal DUI crash involving State Senator Tom Saunders' son:
Sources tell Fox 59 the woman is reportedly a prominent person in the community and gave police a statement Friday.
The source says the suspected confessed that she struck the officer and left the scene late Wednesday night on U.S. 40.
A Sheriff's detective and State Police detective met the woman Friday at an undisclosed location to take her statement.
Fox 59 also learned that investigators were ordered to not arrest the woman by Henry County Sheriff Butch Baker and Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane, who has been handling the negotiations.
A 2002 Toyota Corolla has also been recovered in connection to the deadly hit and run. The source says that there was evidence on the car coinciding with evidence from the accident scene.
Early in the investigation Fox 59 reported that a headlamp belonging to a 2002 Toyota had been found at the crash site.
Both Henry County Sheriff Butch Baker and Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane told reporters Friday that they expected the woman to turn herself in next week.
Neither the Sheriff or Prosecutor disclosed that the woman has already given a statement to investigators or that a car involved in the crash has been located.
Those close to the investigation are concerned the woman is getting special treatment because of her apparent connections and negotiations, according to our source.
Investigators have been told that the woman was not being arrested as a condition of negotiations to get her statement by Prosecutor Crane. Also an interesting note, Sheriff Butch Baker used to work for Henry County Prosecutor Crane as his Chief Investigator.
The sheriff and prosecutor learned the morning after the fatal collision the female driver of the car had retained an attorney, who then contacted Henry Co. officials to discuss the conditions for his client to make a statement to them. At that time, they claimed only the attorney knew the identity of the client. As King notes in her report, both the prosecutor's and sheriff's offices neglected to mention to the media on Friday when they announced the woman would likely turn herself in next week that they had already met with her and taken a statement from her. Clearly this woman is being afforded special treatment not typically afforded to someone who has committed a crime as serious as the one she committed. Coming on the heels of IMPD's mishandling of the fatal DUI crash involving Officer David Bisard, the public is naturally suspicious of any special treatment accorded to public officials and prominent members of the community by government investigators.
Crane has handled other criminal negotiations in the past that are usually left to the police.
One case involved former State Senator Tom Saunders whose son hit a driver and killed him and then fled the scene.
Crane negotiated this case through his Deputy Prosecutor.
That case took about two weeks to resolve and Saunder's son to turn himself in.
In that case, Butch Baker, was working for the Prosecutor at the time and is also Saunder's cousin.