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‘It’s like a knife through the heart’ | Prosecutor not filing charges in deadly Hamilton County prom crash

A crash investigation report says the other driver, a 17-year-old classmate, was going about 80 mph in a 55 mph zone, seconds before the crash happened.

ARCADIA, Ind. — Months after two teens were killed on their way to prom, loved ones are left fighting for justice.  

Last May, Lendon Byram and Kalen Hart were killed in a crash in Hamilton County near Arcadia. Two other Hamilton Heights students in the vehicle were also hurt.  

RELATED: Two high school students die in crash on their way to prom

RELATED: Prom crash survivor: 'This will be with me to the day I die'

Police said the teens were T-boned by another car at an intersection in a rural area.

“We were supposed to send her off to college this fall. We didn’t get to do that. She didn’t graduate,” said Rob Conaway, Kalen’s stepfather. “We’ll never get to see Kalen walk down the aisle, get married, have babies.” 

Credit: Jody Conaway
Kalen Hart's mom Jody Conaway said Kalen had just gotten her graduation cap and gown and she was trying it on the other day. Conaway said she and Kalen's grandmother were filing out invitations for Kalen's graduation when she heard Kalen had died in a crash.

It’s a tragedy that’s haunted the family for months and now they finally have some answers.

13News obtained a copy of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department’s final crash investigation report.

In the report, police say, “it is more likely than not” that Lendon stopped at the stop sign before going through the intersection.

It also states the other driver, a 17-year-old classmate, was going about 80 mph in a 55 mph zone, seconds before the crash happened. The toxicology report showed no signs of drugs or alcohol.  

RELATED: Family and friends remember couple who died in crash on their way to prom

Investigators believe if she was going the speed limit and Lendon yielded the right of way to ongoing traffic, it’s unlikely the crash would’ve happened.  

The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office is not filing any charges in the investigation at this time. The 17-year-old driver was issued a speeding ticket.  

“I am confused on why she is just getting a speeding ticket when she is doing 25 mph over the speed limit. Why isn’t there reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter or something other than being able to kill two people and just get a speeding ticket?” said Conaway. “It’s like a knife through the heart reading through the reports.” 

Credit: Rob Conaway
Two crosses with Lendon Byram and Kalen Hart's names on them have been put up to remember and honor the teens, who were killed in a crash on prom night in May.

Rob said he has been in contact with the prosecutor’s office and is hoping to get more answers. 

“It’s like everybody is trying to sweep this under the rug and make it disappear, instead of there being justice for Kalen and Lendon. It’s an outrage,” he said.  

That’s why Conaway and his family will continue to fight for Kalen and Lendon.  

“We don’t want to let them down. We will fight to our very last breath,” he said. “It just makes no sense. I am totally dumbfounded.”

The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office said it will not make a public statement about an uncharged juvenile matter. 

13News also reached out to the parents of the 17-year-old driver involved in the crash and have not heard back. 

Last week, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Kalen’s mother against the teenage driver. It alleges she drove “carelessly and negligently” right before the crash by speeding and not looking out for another vehicle. 

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