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Bus Driver Convicted of Traffic Charges in Fatal Crash

Lilly Mashayak3 months ago

A church bus driver has been convicted of two traffic charges and acquitted of reckless homicide after allegedly using cocaine before a crash that killed a 6-year-old boy and injured 11 other people near Indianapolis.

Details of the Fatal Crash

According to ABC News, the bus driver, 54-year-old Charles Goodman, faces up between two to 12 years in prison. He will be sentenced next month. Goodman was found guilty of driving while intoxicated and with a suspended license by a Hancock County, Indiana, jury.

Goodman was driving a group from Gary’s St. Jude Deliverance Center on July 28 to a religious convention in Ohio. The 15-passenger bus went out of control, struck some trees and overturned, killing Jacob Williams of Gary, Indiana.

Evidence and Arguments Presented in Trial

According to expert testimony, Goodman used cocaine within a day of the crash. Scientists tested Goodman’s blood about 20 days after the crash, and found only trace amounts of the drug. However, it was enough to suggest he had used cocaine before driving the van, said Sheila Arnold, a forensic toxicologist with the Indiana Department of Toxicology.

Immediately after the accident, Goodman told police he had fallen asleep behind the wheel. Prosecutors argued that even Goodman’s driving while sleepy was reckless.

According to Goodman’s attorney’s, he was a trusted member of the church who was forced to drive a bus with a mechanical failure. Defense attorney Bonnie Wooten said no 911 calls were made referencing an erratic driver before the crash and no one on the bus was fearful of Goodman that day.

Rev. Louise Hill, lead pastor of the church, defended Goodman saying he was helpful and eager to assist with different jobs around the church. She said she did not notice anything odd about Goodman’s behavior and was certain her parishioners would have said something if he was acting strange. 

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