Police say Indiana lawmaker crashed and abandoned truck before drunken driving arrest
SEYMOUR, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana state lawmaker’s pickup truck veered down a hill, through an interstate guardrail, and across traffic lanes in a crash that led to his arrest last week on suspicion of drunken driving, according to a police report.
The prosecutor in southern Indiana’s Jackson County said Monday that an investigation into the crash involving Republican Rep. Jim Lucas of Seymour was ongoing and he hadn’t decided whether to file criminal charges.
State police arrested Lucas, 58, on preliminary charges that include driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage. Lucas did not reply to a voicemail message left on his cellphone Monday, and his legislative office hasn’t commented on the arrest.
Police were called early Wednesday about a vehicle running into a guardrail at the interchange of Interstate 65 and Indiana 11, a few miles north of Seymour, the state police crash report said. A state trooper wrote that he found vehicle debris on I-65 and a trail of vehicle fluid showing that a vehicle went the wrong way up the northbound entry ramp from Indiana 11.
Seymour police found the badly damaged pickup truck with Lucas’ state legislator license plate nearly 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) away, parked behind a business. It had three flat tires, two of which had been worn down to the metal wheel rims, the report said.
Lucas, whom police stopped as he was walking nearby, told the trooper he lost control of his truck while swerving to miss a deer, the report said. Lucas told police he believed he could drive home despite the truck damage and parked behind the carpet store on Seymour’s north side because he didn’t want to leave an oil leak in its front parking lot. He was arrested after the trooper conducted sobriety tests. Results of a blood test for his intoxication level haven’t yet been released.
No other vehicles were involved and Lucas reported no injuries to police.
Lucas, who was first elected to the Legislature in 2012, is a prominent supporter of loosening state gun laws and marijuana legalization. He has faced controversy several times for what critics called racist social media posts.
A spokeswoman for Republican House Speaker Todd Huston said he would not be commenting on “Lucas’ personal matter.”