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Brickyard 400 golf-cart driver charged with drunken driving

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The county prosecutor has filed eight criminal charges against a Noblesville man after a golf-cart crashed into and injured a group of people at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Brickyard 400.

Six of the charges against Colonious Thomas, 40, are felonies, all of them involving drunken driving causing bodily injury. Three people were injured, according to the charges filed by Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.

It happened around 12:19 p.m. Sunday in Tunnel 2 of IMS in Speedway ahead of the 24th running of the NASCAR race, court documents said.

After striking several pedestrians, the documents said Speedway police “determined during this time frame the golf cart involved in the incident had continued on up the ramp to the north and exited the ramp turning to the west.”

Indiana State Police found the golf cart, described as a 2016 Star Classic EV, just south of Fourth Street on Hulman Boulevard, about 200 or 300 yards from the crash site. Later, Thomas admitted he had consumed two bloody mary drinks to Speedway Police Officer Michael Clupper. The officer said in the documents that Thomas smelled of an alcoholic beverage and had bloodshot eyes.

Clupper asked Thomas to recite the alphabet beginning with the letter L through the letter U.

“Instead Mr. Thomas said the following: L, M, N, O, Q, H, T, L and M,” the documents said. “He then stopped and said he couldn’t do it. He was then asked if he could count and he stated he could. He was asked to count backwards from 57-45, but instead counted from 57-47 where he stopped counting.”

Thomas also was challenged by other tests for drunkenness that police administered, the documents said. A blood test at Eskenazi Hospital showed he had an alcohol concentration equivalent to 0.277 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of his blood.

Thomas later told authorities that he could not stop the golf cart because the gas pedal was “stuck” and “the brakes would not stop him.” He said he only got the golf cart to stop after turning the ignition to the “off” position.

A later examination of the cart by mechanics in Mooresville found the gas pedal was “depressed and stuck on the floor board” with the linkage from the accelerator to the throttle control box “bent,” court documents said.

Initial police reports on the day of the crash said two people hit were treated by the Speedway’s Infield Care for minor injuries and four others were taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital. Court documents said Randall Wood suffered a broken femur, Kimberly Rastatter had a dislocated left shoulder/arm, and Tiane Lane had a head injury with swelling and “her left leg/side tender and painful,” the documents said.

An initial court hearing for Thomas has been set for Aug. 3 in Marion Superior Court Criminal Division, according to online court records.

Online jail records show Thomas was released from the Marion County Jail on his own recognizance. On Friday, a judge set a $20,000 surety bond for Thomas.

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