How does a person tell a child that their mother and/or their father were killed in a motor vehicle accident? Unfortunately, many relatives are often faced with this difficult task after a family member of theirs was killed in a collision and left behind a child. Now, imagine having to tell five children that their parents did not survive a crash? Sadly, someone was actually assigned with this task after Amy and Peter Jackson of Portage, IN were killed in a drunk driving accident [Source: NWI Times].
It was a Wednesday night when the Jackson’s went out for date night. The couple had been married for six years and had five children together, Jarad, Caleb, Dorian, Natanya, and Brayden. Their ages range from four to 18 years old. While the two thought they would be going out for dinner and getting the opportunity to spend some quality time together, their night took a turn for the worst when they encountered Cleon C. Stutler at the intersection of Willowcreek Road and U.S. 20. It was at this exact location where Amy Jackson would take her last breath.
According to police, Stutler drove his vehicle into the path of the couple’s motorcycle, resulting in the death of Mrs. Jackson. Mr. Jackson, however, was transported to Methodist Hospital’s Northlake campus where he was later pronounced dead. When officers arrived at the accident scene at around 6:10 p.m., Stutler stated “My life is over” several times. He was also seen fumbling through his wallet and had slurred speech. While the Jackson’s didn’t get the opportunity to walk away from the crash scene, Stutler did, although he was in handcuffs. Police arrested the driver on several counts of operating while intoxicated with a BAC level that was more than twice the legal limit.
The source highlighted that Stutler is the owner of Stutler Architects located at 2155 Willowcreek Road in Portage and has even completed projects for the city. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time he has been charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence. Back in 2014, he was arrested and charged with several counts of operating while intoxicated and eventually pleaded guilty to that charge. Although his sentence included a fine of $5,000, a year in jail, a year of probation, and therapy, his fine was suspended, all of but five days of his jail term was suspended, and he was still subjected to completing the probation and therapy.
Although Stutler may wind up serving his full sentence if police find he was at fault for causing the accident, it won’t change the fact that five children are now left without their parents.
The reality is, drunk drivers are responsible for causing thousands of accidents each and every year [Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. While some result in a person sustaining a serious injury, others end the same way as the incident cited above. And while there are laws in effect that are geared toward punishing those who violate them, there are also other ways a family can take legal action on their own after either engaging in a DUI accident or losing a loved one who was involved in one.
Therefore, if you or someone you know has been affected by a drunk driving accident in Gary or Hammond, IN and you would like to learn more about what your legal rights are and how you can obtain justice for the negligent behavior that was displayed by the drunk driver, contact a Gary, Indiana personal injury attorney at Marshall P. Whalley & Associates, PC. Our office will help you understand what forms of legal recourse are available for you to take and how we can help you and your family get through this unfortunate time.
Marshall P. Whalley & Associates, PC is located at:
51 W. 112th Avenue
Crown Point, IN 46307