Local Attorneys With An Exclusive Personal Injury Focus

Wrongful Death of Indiana State Trooper Is Linked to Speeding Motorist’s Marijuana Use

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2023 | Personal Injury

Details surrounding the death of an Indiana State Police master trooper are starting to emerge as prosecutors build their case against a Marion man they say was driving recklessly while under the influence of marijuana. Police say the suspect, Terry Sands, was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic going north on I-69. An off-duty officer activated his emergency lights and began pursuing Sands, who refused to stop. Trooper James Bailey was laying down stop sticks on the roadway when Sands’ vehicle hit the trooper, killing him instantly.

Sands has been charged with murder, resisting law enforcement and operating a vehicle with a controlled substance, resulting in death. Sands admitted that he smoked marijuana within an hour of the crash. He refused a chemical test at the scene but was taken to a nearby hospital for a blood test, which confirmed the presence of THC in his system. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.

It should be noted that a 2021 change to Indiana law provides a defense for people who have THC in their system at the time of a traffic accident. However, that law would not protect Sands because the new defense is available only if the driver was not intoxicated and did not cause a traffic accident. In this case, Sands is charged with causing the fatal crash, and in fact doing so intentionally.

A family that loses a loved one due to the fault of a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the victim survives, he or she could file a personal injury claim. Depending on the facts of the case, the defendants could include any of the following:

  • The drunk or high driver who caused the crash
  • The intoxicated driver’s insurance company
  • The establishment that sold alcohol to the driver
  • A person who hosted a party where the driver consumed drugs or alcohol and then got behind the wheel

An experienced Indiana auto accident lawyer can be of significant assistance in recovering damages in a DUI crash case. These cases can be complex and requiring of a high level of skill.

At the Cooke Law Firm in Lafayette, our attorneys have decades of experience helping auto accident victims and their families get the compensation they deserve. To arrange a free initial consultation, please call 765-423-5628 or contact us online today.