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Father sentenced in Speedway explosion near IMS

The explosion caused visible damage to the railroad bridge, a bridge light fixture and a vehicle passing under the bridge at the time.
Credit: IMPD
Wayne Turner (left) and Isak Turner (right) have been sentenced after causing an explosion near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in December 2019.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — A judge sentenced 58-year-old Wayne Turner, of Indianapolis, to 46 months in prison in connection to the 2019 minor explosion under the overpass near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

U.S. District Judge James Patrick Hanlon delivered the verdict after Wayne pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered destructive device.

Wayne's son, Isak, pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced to 42 months in prison in February 2022.

According to court documents, Wayne, Isak and an unidentified woman were at Wayne's apartment in Indianapolis, near East Washington Street, on Dec. 20, 2019. Wayne put together an improvised explosive device using materials he had at his apartment.

Court documents say Isak put the explosive device in his backpack, and the three people then drove to Speedway, where they parked the car by the railroad tracks near the 1200 block of Olin Avenue, which is just south of IMS.

Then, the group allegedly walked to the railroad bridge over 16th Street, toward IMS. According to court documents, Isak took the explosive device out of his backpack and asked the woman to light it, but she refused.

Court documents say Isak lit the device and threw it off the bridge. The explosive device landed on the median of 16th Street and exploded, causing visible damage to the railroad bridge, a bridge light fixture and a vehicle passing under the bridge at the time — but the driver of that vehicle was not injured.

Speedway police responded to a report of an explosion and found Wayne, Isak and the woman walking on the bridge. 

Police interviewed the group and got a search warrant for Wayne's apartment, where they found materials used to make explosives. 

As a result, Wayne and Isak were arrested, but the woman was not charged in the incident.

Credit: IMPD
Wayne Turner (left) and Isak Turner (right) have been sentenced after causing an explosion near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in December 2019.

Wayne was previously been arrested and convicted in August 2016 of criminal recklessness in Marion County for similar conduct. 

On May 28, 2016 — the night before the Indianapolis 500 — Wayne detonated and threw an M-80-style device over a fence onto IMS property. He set off a second explosive device next to a barricade on Georgetown Road.

When Wayne was arrested, he was allegedly drunk and had at least eight cylindrical explosive devices with ignitable wicks.

Halon ordered Wayne and Isak each be supervised by probation officers for three years following their release from prison.

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