Monday, October 04, 2010

HIt-And-Run Suspect In Greenfield Police Officer's Killing Surrenders To Police

A 61-year-old woman, Sue Ann Vanderbeck of Indianapolis, has surrendered herself to Henry County authorities late this afternoon in connection with last Wednesday's fatal hit-and-run collision with a bicycle upon which a Greenfield police officer, Will Phillips, was riding at the time along U.S. 40 near Knightstown. Greenfield police officers began openly questioning the investigation of the case led by Henry Co. Prosecutor Kit Crane and Sheriff Butch Baker. According to WTHR, Vanderbeck claims she was distracted by her three young children riding in her car at the time she collided with Phillips' bicycle and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Henry County authorities say the driver in a hit-and-run crash that killed a Greenfield police officer turned herself in Monday night.

Police say Sue Anne Vanderbeck, a 61-year-old woman from Indianapolis, surrendered Monday for her role in the crash that ended in the death of 32-year-old Officer Will Phillips.

The Henry County prosecutor says Vanderbeck was driving westbound on US 40 with two young children in her vehicle when she struck Officer Phillips, who was on a training bike ride with two other officers.

The prosecutor says Vanderbeck became distracted by the children in the back seat, and also that she shows great remorse.

Police say Vanderbeck contacted her attorney hours after the accident. The attorney contacted police, who examined her car last Friday.

The prosecutor said the accident was horrendous, but he commended her for reporting it.

Also, the prosecutor says police do not believe alcohol or drugs were involved based on Vanderbeck's statement and her appearance. Blood tests will likely be inadmissible since it was not possible to take samples from Vanderbeck at the time of the crash.

Vanderbeck, who has three children, was released on bond. She was visibly upset as she left the jail and avoided answering reporters' questions.
UPDATE: New information on nightly news reports. Vanderbeck is a nurse. She knew she hit a bicycle but didn't think she seriously injured the person on the bike. She saw two other persons at the scene so decided to drive off. She showed the damage to her view to her husband when she got husband and decided it couldn't have been that bad because her car wasn't badly damaged. She later listened to a new report about Officer Phillips' death and figured out he was the person her car struck. That's when she decided to contact an attorney. She is represented by Steven Litz, an eccentric lawyer who describes himself as The Best Criminal Defense Attorney. He was also just disciplined for carelessly attempting to dispose of old client files.

Some people may also recall Litz' role in helping a New Jersy man secure a controversial adoption of twin infant girls. That adoption was eventually set aside by the Indiana Supreme Court. As the Star's Jon Murray reported at the time, "The case had attracted controversy nearly from the start." "Melinger, then 58 and an elementary teacher in Union City, N.J., sparked concerns when he arrived at Methodist Hospital in April 2005 with a live bird up his sleeve. And he planned to drive the premature infants back to his home just outside New York City, prompting the involvement of DCS." Noted retired IU School of Law Professor Henry Karlson said a fraud had been perpetrated on the court to procure the adoption in the first instance. According to Murray, Litz agreed his "understanding of some facts in the Melinger case shifted throughout the adoption proceedings."


Vox Populi said...

She's 61 with three young children? Quite a lesson she taught them to drive away from an accident site. I bet she doesn't serve any time.

James said...

The story doesn't add up and I'm not buying it.

It's a straight road at 1:00 am. Not much traffic at all. You see reflectors, lights, etc. You can't tell exactly what it is... so you move over and or slow down.

Kids at 1:00 are asleep in the car, not distracting you. Even if they weren't, you stay focused on something like bikers or reflective vests at night.

Doesn't explain not stopping or calling for help. I could understand a 61 yo female with kids not stopping there at 1:00 ... but a call to 911 on a cell or at a gas station would be reasonable. Not a call to your attorney.

This just stinks.

James said...

She's 61 and has young children? Grand-kids?

Are any of these "kids" old enough to have a license?

If any of these "kids" are 16-22 I'd be more inclined to believe she is taking the rap for one of them. The story would make a lot more sense. Kid borrows car, hits biker, scared- so drives home and doesn't stop. Mom calls attorney and claims she was driving.

Advance Indiana said...

I wondered the same thing about a lady that age having children that young.

Advance Indiana said...

It looks like the two younger kids are twins born in 2009 according to a birth announcement in the Star.

Unigov said...

It is not possible to react in time, when driving on a state highway, to people riding bikes at 15 mph. No matter whether they have reflectors or not, they were I BET riding on the road surface. It is so unfathomable even to someone paying more attention to their driving than to their (autistic in this case) child that people would be riding BICYCLES AT NIGHT ON A STATE HIGHWAY. The human mind cannot even process this information in time. This is the exact same thing as the cops riding with a truck behind them in southern Indiana a couple years ago - and this is why the Amish get killed, they are going soooo slow.

There's no excuse for not responding of course. But there is no fault in the accident - people riding where they had no business being, and this woman not fully attentive.

Aaron said...

If she is a retired nurse why didn't she stop to offer aid, especially if she thought that the injury was not life-threatening? I guess nurses don't have to take the Hypocritic Oath?

opusthepoet said...

Unigov, with the lights and reflectors they had on those 3 bikes (remember they were riding cop bikes, not Wally World specials) the driver could see the bikes for at least a quarter of a mile, or about 15 seconds at highway speeds. There's no excuse for not being able to see and avoid hitting all 3 of the bikes which were riding single file according to the police report posted on the dead cops memorial site.

IndyDem said...

wow.. the prosecutor sounds more like the defense Atty.

James said...

Unigov - that's bullshit!

I'm tired of people blaming the victim.

News Flash: You have the absolute responsibility to pay attention and maintain control of your vehicle at all times.

I'm a biker and a driver and bikes with blinking LED lights and reflective vests are visible from some distance and there were three of them.

Any argument that these bikers were responsible falls away once the driver failed to stop.

helenj said...

I'm just curious where was she coming from at 12.30 am with small children in the car? I would think they would be asleep.