Portage man, 20, admits guilt in leaving fatal accident
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent November 20, 2012 4:40PM
Updated: December 22, 2012 6:25AM
VALPARAISO -- The Portage man who ran over a man on a mo-ped April 2, killing him, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one of the charges against him.
Reinaldo Antonio Figueroa III, 20, faces two to eight years in prison at his Jan. 20 sentencing for the Class C felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.
Figueroa admitted Tuesday to hitting Franklin Ivey, 22, about 8:20 p.m. near County Roads 550W and 700N, where another driver then ran over Ivey. He admitted he hit Ivey with such force that it damaged the front of his car and shattered the windshield.
“You learned later that what you hit was a person,” Defense attorney Jeff Golding said, and Figueroa agreed.
“The fact that you left the scene resulted in Mr. Ivey’s death.”
Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Bennett said the crash “may have caused the death.” Bennett has said the prosecution believes Ivey was dead before the woman who discovered the body ran over it.
Police didn’t find and talk with Figueroa until eight hours after the accident. He originally hid his car at the home of one of his three female passengers. Figueroa also went to a relative’s in Hammond, although no one has admitted to driving him there.
He is on probation in Porter County after pleading to Class C misdemeanor minor consuming in May, and he was arrested in Monroe County during tailgating at IU Bloomington for Class A misdemeanor possession of alcohol.
As part of his plea, the state will drop a Class C felony reckless homicide charge if Porter County Circuit Judge Mary Harper accepts the agreement.
The state will also suspend Figueroa’s license for two to five years.