18-Year-Old Driver Charged In Boat Race Crash - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

18-Year-Old Driver Charged In Boat Race Crash

By Frances Kuo

(MADISON, Ind.) -- Prosecutors in Jefferson County, Indiana have filed charges against the driver who plowed his car into a crowd at the Madison Regatta more than two weeks ago. WAVE 3's Frances Kuo reports.

According to court documents prosecutors filed Wednesday, 18-year-old Michael Bowen bought a can of Clean Safe Dust Remover (a product which cleans electronic equipment) at a nearby Wal-Mart on July 2, the day of the crash.

The court documents describe how Bowen inhaled its contents, then just 15 minutes later, blacked out and crashed into a group of spectators at the event.

Madison police arrested Bowen for the following charges: (1)  three felony counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, under the influence of Freon, causing serious bodily injury; (2) three felony counts of criminal recklessness inflicting serious bodily injury; and (3) one count of inhaling toxic vapors, a misdemeanor.

The court documents also reveal more information about the extent of the injuries of the three spectators most seriously hurt at the crash.

Jennifer Willette, who remains at University Hospital, suffered head and chest injuries. Doctors also had to amputate her left leg and left arm.

Priscilla Johnson, also at University, suffered a leg fracture, and head and chest injuries. Doctors had to remove her spleen.

A third person, a teenage girl, suffered a fracture in her left arm.

Residents in Madison say they suspected Bowen may have been high, but were hoping Bowen's crash was due to health-related issues.

"I always, as a mom put myself into that ‘What would I want for my child?'" said Gail Karns, a Madison resident. "This may have been a one-time mistake that will cost him so much. You just have to trust the judicial system."

Bowen is free on a $10,000 cash bond.

He's scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on November 22nd; his trial is set for December 14th.

Prosecutors were not able to file charges against Bowen for the other people hurt in the crash.

Indiana law only allows for such charges in situations where the victims have suffered serious injuries.

Prosecutors plan to pursue the maximum sentence for Bowen -- seven years.

Online Reporter: Frances Kuo

Online Producer: Michael Dever

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