Cab driver charged in fatal crash that killed 4 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Cab driver charged in fatal crash that killed 4

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FLOYD COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) -- The only survivor of a fiery crash that killed four people near Horseshoe Casino is being charged with four counts of reckless homicide. 

Late Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Marshals arrested 32-year-old Charles Michael Barlow at his employer, Yellow Cab of Louisville. He was booked into Metro Corrections Tuesday afternoon on fugitive charges out of Indiana.  He is expected to be arraigned in Jefferson District Court Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

Court documents reveal that Barlow admits he drank alcohol before the crash along Highway 111 in Floyd County, Indiana.

A police officer also says Barlow smelled of alcohol, but that's not what led to these charges, as Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson explains: "The basis for these charges to this point are speed.  The reconstructionist has determined that the cab driven by Mr. Barlow was traveling in excess of 80 miles per hour. That's also visually confirmed speed by a witness. That speed may go up based on the reconstruction."

Investigators say Barlow's cab crossed the center line and hit 60-year-old Thomas Stinson's Cadillac on State Road 111 early Monday morning. While Barlow walked away with only minor injuries, his passengers killed were: 31-year-old Michael Roby, 39-year-old Tara Crump-Hirsekorn, and Barlow's girlfriend 23-year-old Laura Weigand. The preliminary autopsy reports shows two were killed instantly while one or more might have died from smoke inhalation.

Tara Crump-Hirsekorn, 39, was an artist and photographer. She was also the mother of two children. Her mother Terri Beeler, said she was torn up by the charges.

"Well I'm still torn, I'm still in shock," said Beeler. "It's mixed emotions because he lost his fiance, and two of his best friends. But on the other hand he was being reckless, doing something he shouldn't have been doing with other people's lives."

Angela Roby, Michael Roby's wife, was upset when she spoke to a WDRB News reporter by phone Tuesday. She said she had been advised not to discuss the crash. WDRB NEws could not reach Weigand's relatives for comment.

Authorities say Barlow was speeding, and crossed the center line before striking the Cadillac driven by Thomas Stinson Jr.

Tuesday prosecutors charged Barlow with four counts of reckless homicide.

"The accident reconstructionist has determined that the cab driven by Mr. Barlow was going in excess of 80 mile per hour," said Keith Henderson, the Floyd County prosecutor.

A WDRB News reporter tried to talk to Barlow, but no answered his door. We later learned U.S. Marshals arrested him at Yellow Cab in Louisville. He had not been driving a cab Tuesday at the time of this arrest, according to U.S. Marshals spokesman Brian Parrish.

Court documents show Barlow "admitted to police that he had consumed alcohol prior to the crash." Beeler says she knows Barlow was close to those in the cab, including her daughter.

Terri Beeler said: "(Barlow) is suffering right now too. I know he is. But like I said there are consequences for your actions."

Investigators say they were headed to Horseshoe Casino.  If blood tests reveal Barlow was intoxicated, it could mean more charges.

Henderson says, "You know, in cases of intoxication in causing death, then it will be filed as four additional felonies potentially.  There's some other factors ,you know, backgrounds, what's happened in the past with a particular defendant that I can't go into yet.  All those things would come into play as to what level of felony, but it would be as this vehicular homicide involving intoxication, which is a whole other set of statutes they would be filed in addition to."

WDRB News uncovered Barlow's criminal history, which includes burglary and theft in Jefferson County.

If found guilty of reckless homicide, Barlow could face up to 32 years in prison.

Copyright 2012 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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