Zionsville man who had claimed friend was driving charged in 2016 fatal crash

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BOONE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHR) – Police have arrested a Zionsville man in connection with a 2016 fatal crash.

Jack Kaplan is charged with moving his dying friend’s body to make it look like the friend was behind the wheel in the crash.

But court papers filed in Boone County say DNA puts the survivor of that crash in the driver’s seat.

The crash that killed Purdue University student James Dupler, 21, happened along Boone County Road 300 South at about 1:00 a.m.

Police said the eastbound SUV was going 20 miles over the speed limit on a wet road surface.

The vehicle went off the road and slammed passenger-side first into what was a large tree.

On the night of the crash, the other man in the car told police he was the passenger in his own car. Kaplan told investigators he gave Dupler the keys because he was too drunk to drive.

Police were skeptical.

Security camera video at a sandwich shop near 106th St. and Michigan Road, where both men ate and drank alcohol, allegedly showed victim James Dupler riding shotgun and suspect Jack Kaplan behind the wheel.

In addition, DNA tests link blood on the steering wheel and driver’s seat to the suspect, not Dupler.

James Dupler (Photo provided)

Dupler’s massive injuries are also linked to damage on the car’s passenger side.

The suspect never called 911, investigator say. He did call his father. Nearly a half hour passed before police were called.

According to court papers, investigator say “Jack Kaplan removed Mr. Dupler from the front passenger seat of the Ford Explorer ultimately leaving him lying on the ground near the driver side of the vehicle dying."

Dupler was an accomplished high school and college student, active in his church.

Court documents say in the hour before the crash, security video from inside a former Marsh Supermarket on Michigan Road allegedly shows the two leaving the store with a bottle of with bourbon and suspect Kaplan opening it in the store and pouring it into the victim’s mouth.

We tried but could not reach the suspect’s family.

A statement from the Dupler family:

“Our family would like to sincerely thank the tireless efforts of the Boone County Investigative Team in finding the truth and honoring James' memory. There is hope in Jesus, and a measure of peace in knowing the truth. We would also like to thank our family, friends, and Trader's Point Christian Church for their love and continued prayers of support."

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