Trucker in Indiana crash that killed Michigan couple won’t be charged

The (Auburn, Ind.) Star

Auburn, Ind. – A truck driver who caused a chain-reaction crash along a northeastern Indiana highway that killed a Michigan couple and another person will not face criminal charges in that crash, a prosecutor said.

Evidence showed that James Crager, 70, did not see a line of traffic that was slowing or stopped for construction along Interstate 69 “until it was too late” for the Angola man to prevent his semi from crashing into those vehicles on Sept. 16, said DeKalb County Prosecutor Claramary Winebrenner.

“Most other drivers did see this hazard, but inattentiveness alone is not a crime,” Winebrenner said in a statement Tuesday announcing Crager would not be charged, The (Auburn) Star reported.

While the three deaths are tragedies, she said that “the decision to bring criminal charges cannot be based on emotion, but rather on the hard evidence of the wrongfulness of the operator’s conduct.”

She said that conduct “must be more than just a mistake, or negligence, which is generally handled by a civil suit between the parties.”

Crager also will not face any traffic-violation charges, Winebrenner said. Indiana State Police did not recommend any traffic charges in their crash findings.

The chain-reaction crash along northbound lanes of I-69, just north of Auburn, killed Dale E. Lowe, 81, and Jean E. Lowe, 72, of Charlotte, Michigan, and William Heil, 65, of Angola.

Traffic was backed up by bridge construction at the time of the seven-vehicle crash, which also injured five people.