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Docs: Driver who hit trooper on I-65 was double the legal limit

Docs: Driver who hit trooper on I-65 was double the legal limit

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The 22-year-old driver who hit and seriously injured an Indiana State Police trooper had two times the legal blood-alcohol limit in his system at the time of the crash, court documents show.

The trooper, identified as Azariah Keith, was still in serious condition as of Sunday. Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine said in a social media post Monday that Keith was “recovering well” from his injuries.

A probable cause affidavit obtained by News 8 says around 8:45 p.m. Saturday, Keith was pulled over to help a stranded driver change a flat tire along the left side of I-65 southbound near 30th Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

Another trooper responded to block off the left lane and regulate traffic. Both police vehicles had their emergency lights activated, police say.

Keith finished helping change the tire about half an hour later. As he was putting his equipment back in his trunk, a 2018 Chevy Equinox approached the scene at a high rate of speed.

State police said in a release on Sunday that the Equinox “swerved around the trooper who was blocking the left lane, lost control, and crashed into the concrete median, struck (Keith), then (Keith’s) police car.” Court documents also add that the Equinox almost hit the second trooper, as well.

Keith was immediately tended to by the other trooper until emergency services arrived. He was then taken to Eskenazi Hospital in critical condition.

Court documents say Keith “suffered a broken pelvis, a broken left fibula, and a laceration through the knee joint of his left leg.” Documents also included that due to his injuries, he would require surgery “and an extensive recovery.”

Investigators later spoke with the driver of the Equinox, 22-year-old Armaandeep Singh, who police say “had glassy, bloodshot eyes ” and “the odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath.”

When asked about what caused the accident, Singh told officers that he’d been following a large semi-truck in the left lane of I-65 heading toward Greenwood. At some point, the truck suddenly swerved to the right, and only then did Singh see the vehicles with the lights on.

Singh then “swerved and avoided the police car, lost control of his vehicle, hit the median wall, then hit a police officer standing outside of another police vehicle.”

Officers learned that the Equinox Singh was driving belonged to his girlfriend. Singh told police he’d been using it for DoorDashing before he was supposed to go pick up his girlfriend from work.

There was a gap in time between when Singh DoorDashed and when he was supposed to pick up his girlfriend, court papers say. When officers asked what he was doing in between the two, he said he was “chilling,” and wouldn’t elaborate further.

Singh also admitted to police that he did drink during the night, and had bought a six-pack of Corona earlier in the day. The affidavit says Singh said he only drank one Corona, but he couldn’t say what time he drank the beer or when he bought it.

Court papers say when police asked Singh “if he believed his impairment contributed to the collision, Singh said no.”

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute describes the legal limit for blood alcohol content while driving as lower than 0.08%. Singh’s BAC was reported as 0.161%.

Officers later searched Singh’s vehicle, and found five full Corona bottles and one empty one in the passenger’s seat. They also found “several other bottlecaps” from various alcoholic beverages throughout the SUV.

Singh on Wednesday night remained in the Marion County jail.

He was formally charged Wednesday in Marion Superior Court 21 with an OWI causing serious bodily injury, and operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol rate of 0.15 or more. A surety bond was set at $100,000. If released from jail, he will have a tracking device, home detention and alcohol monitoring.

Also, a request was made in the Wednesday court hearing to suspend his driver’s license.

News 8’s Gregg Montgomery contributed to this story.

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