Hydrocodone suspected in off-duty cop's fatal crash - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Hydrocodone suspected in off-duty cop's fatal crash

Updated:
Photo courtesy Madison County Sheriff's Department Photo courtesy Madison County Sheriff's Department
Rebecca and Jesse Sperry Rebecca and Jesse Sperry
Autumn Sperry (photo provided by family) Autumn Sperry (photo provided by family)
MADISON COUNTY -

An off-duty police officer who allegedly caused a car crash that killed a man and seriously injured a pregnant woman, may have had narcotics in his system at the time.

Edgewood police officer James Foutch had his girlfriend in his truck and possibly a narcotic in his system when he rammed a car from behind Sunday, according to prosecutors. The other car was forced into a utility poll, killing passenger Jesse Sperry and hospitalizing Sperry's wife, Rebecca, who was nine months pregnant at the time.

"There are a number of warrants being served right now for background information, for drug materials and prescriptions," Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said Monday. "And we're waiting for toxicology reports on the blood that was taken."

That blood taken from the suspended officer immediately after the crash.

Rebecca Sperry had been due to give birth via scheduled C-section Sunday night. After the accident, doctors had to perform an emergency delivery.

"We're all still kind of in shock," said Rebecca's sister Elizabeth Leonard. "It's hard to believe Jesse's gone. Anytime a loved one dies, it's hard. We're just trying to pick up the pieces."

The prosecutor said investigators suspect Foutch was driving under the influence of hydrocodone, a strong pain killer known to cause drowsiness, fuzzy thinking and dizziness. It is unclear at this time if Foutch was taking the narcotic under a doctor's orders.

"I'm not sure it really matters," said prosecutor Cummings. "If you're under the influence, you know you're not supposed to be driving and doing things that impair your ability to drive."

Neither Foutch nor his girlfriend were available for comment.

"I don't know what he's thinking of to be honest with you," said Jennifer Hunter, a resident on Anderson's west side. "I don't know what anyone's thinking about who gets behind the wheel and isn't 100 percent coherent. It's a really sad story."

For anyone taking prescription pain pills, the prosecutor warned, "You can't operate a motor vehicle under the influence of those medications. You simply can't do that. This is the possible outcome. The risk of harm to others is just too great for that."

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