INDIANAPOLIS — Two people have been charged for their roles in a crash in Irvington that resulted in the death of 7-year-old Hannah Crutchfield and seriously injured her mother and a crossing guard.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said 21-year-old Torrell King and a 17-year-old female were charged in the incident.
On Sept. 14 around 4 p.m., officers were called to the 5500 block of East Washington Street on a report of a crash involving multiple vehicles.
According to court documents, the crash is believed to be a result of road rage between King, who was driving a black 2017 Toyota Camry, and the 17-year-old, who was driving a white 2004 Pontiac Grand Am.
Court documents say the incident started when the 17-year-old allegedly cut off King's vehicle, which forced him into the median in the 5800 block of East Washington Street.
Then, King drove his vehicle in front of the 17-year-old's and confronted her about what happened. The 17-year-old drove away, and King continued to follow her.
Both vehicles approached the intersection of Ritter Avenue and East Washington Street, where crossing guard Michael Sykes was in the street with a handheld stop sign.
A red 2017 Nissan Sentra was stopped in the left lane for a red light at the intersection when the 17-year-old swerved around the Nissan Sentra into the right lane and ran the red light. Then, King rear-ended the Nissan Sentra, while the 17-year-old struck a white 2010 Mercury Mariner in the intersection. As a result of the collision, the Mercury Mariner then hit the crossing guard and drove over the 7-year-old girl and her mother, Cassandra Crutchfield.
“Both drivers are engaging in aggressive driving and breaking multiple traffic, committing multiple traffic code violations as they’re going down Washington,” said Mears. “You have individuals that are going in and out of traffic, also kind of breaking the white line rule, following at an unsafe speed and also following too close to one another.”
“And allegations that one of the vehicles might have forced another vehicle into the curb, which is what elevated and escalated the tension between these two individuals,” Mears added.
King's car was found to have been traveling 43.5 mph about four seconds before the crash. It then quickly decelerated, matching witness accounts of the tires squealing, and hit the car stopped at the red light at about 7.5 mph, according to investigators.
Cassandra Crutchfield was reportedly trapped under the Mercury Mariner when it came to a stop. She had severe injuries and was taken to Eskenazi Hospital in critical condition. Cassandra suffered a broken occipital bone, which led to a brain bleed, broken facial bones, five broken ribs and a gash in her right knee that required stitches. She also had second- and third-degree burns on her face and stomach, and road rash on her back.
Sykes had injuries to his lower legs and left side. He was taken to St. Vincent Hospital for treatment.
Hannah had a severe head injury and was taken to Riley Hospital for Children. She died shortly after arriving to the hospital.
Mears said Hannah's older sister saw everything.
“She was just steps behind,” Mears said.
“The senseless death of Hannah Crutchfield serves as a severe reminder that reckless driving has tragic and fatal consequences,” Mears said in a news release. “I offer my condolences to the loved ones of Miss Crutchfield and wish those well who are still recovering.”
The police investigation found the 17-year-old's car was traveling below the speed limit for the school zone when it went through the red light. A test of the driver's blood came back positive for THC. Police also said the teenager never received a valid driver's license.
Now, the family, who Mears said he has met with, is trying to deal with an unspeakable loss.
“I think it’s just important to note the incredible dignity and grace this family is carrying themselves with,” said Mears.
All in the face of a tragedy that could easily have been prevented, Mears said.
“These are perfectly preventable situations, if people would just stop at red lights,” said Mears. “You really hope everyone in the community really wraps their arms around this family because they’ve just experienced an incredible loss.”
Mears is asking a judge to consider charging the 17-year-old as an adult.
The 17-year-old is facing the following charges:
- One count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, causing death — Level 4 felony
- One count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, causing serious bodily injury — Level 5 felony
- One count of reckless homicide — Level 5 felony
- Five counts of criminal recklessness — Level 6 felony
- One count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, causing endangerment — Class A misdemeanor
- One count of operating a vehicle having never received a license — Class C misdemeanor
King is facing the following charges:
- One count of reckless homicide — Level 5 felony
- One count of criminal Recklessness — Level 5 felony
- Two counts of criminal recklessness — Level 6 felonies
An initial hearing date for King was scheduled for Nov. 5 and his bond was set at $15,000.
Learn more about aggressive driving risks
Given all the risks that come with road rage, we wanted to find out how common it really is.
According to AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost 80% of drivers said they have experienced some level of road rage. About 78% admitted to engaging in aggressive behavior themselves.
The most common acts are honking, yelling or purposely tailgating another car out of annoyance or anger.
Aggressive driving is a factor in more than half of all deadly car crashes.
Click here for AAA's road rage stats, and tips on how you can avoid aggressive driving risks.