Indiana News

Court upholds Indiana man’s conviction for stalking woman

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld the stalking conviction of a man who followed a college student for more than an hour as she drove through several counties, and thwarted her attempts to evade him.

The high court ruled unanimously Tuesday that Rodney W. Falls of Valparaiso was properly convicted last year of felony stalking and misdemeanor marijuana possession, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported .

Falls, 56, had waved at the young woman at a Valparaiso stoplight on Feb. 13, 2018, and when she ignored him, Falls began “mimicking her actions, traveling down the same roads and trailing closely behind” her, according to court records.

The pursuit played out along U.S. 30 through five northern Indiana counties and continued after Falls had trailed her for about 70 miles (110 kilometers) to the city of Warsaw. There, the woman’s car was running low on gas, but she feared she would place herself in danger if she stopped to fill up, so she tried unsuccessfully to lose Falls by repeatedly driving up and down Warsaw’s side streets, court records show.

When the woman drove to Warsaw’s police station, Falls pulled between her vehicle and the building and she drove off, according to court documents.

After a second trip around residential streets, the woman returned to the police station and managed to run inside ahead of Falls to report his stalking.

Falls was arrested when he arrived at the police station. Records show that officers found a baggie of marijuana in Falls’ vehicle.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Falls’ convictions and his 3-year sentence in July. But Falls appealed to the state’s high court, arguing that his stalking conviction was improper because Indiana law defines stalking as “repeated or continuing harassment” that would cause a reasonable person to feel “terrorized, frightened, intimidated or threatened.” He argued that his behavior occurred in just a single incident.

The five justices rejected that argument, finding that a single episode of continuing harassment like Falls’ actions satisfied the legal requirement for a stalking conviction.

“A charge of stalking may be supported by conduct that is continuous in nature, even if it is a single episode,” they wrote in their decision.


Seven rural Hoosier hospitals named to Top 100 list

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Seven hospitals serving rural communities in Indiana have been named Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals in the U.S. by The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

The center is run by Chicago-based Chartis Group, a consulting, analytics and technology focused on the healthcare industry.

The index is based on a variety of factors, including market, value and finance-based categories. Chartis says the hospitals on the list received the highest overall scores among all rural and community hospitals across the country.

“The Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital award program reminds us that rural providers haven’t lost touch with their mission and are committed to delivering better quality, better outcomes and better patient satisfaction,” said Michael Topchik, national leader, The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

Here’s the list of seven Indiana hospitals to earn the achievement:

  • King’s Daughters’ Health, Madison
  • Major Hospital, Shelbyville
  • Marion General Hospital, Marion
  • Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, Jasper
  • Parkview Huntington Hospital, Huntington
  • Parkview Noble Hospital, Kendallville
  • Schneck Medical Center, Seymour

Fort Wayne-based Parkview Health has two hospitals to make the list. The health system says it’s the second straight for Parkview Noble and Parkview Huntington to be recognized as a Top 100 hospital by Chartis.

“It is such a pleasure to receive this important recognition again,” said Juli Johnson, president, Parkview Huntington Hospital. “Our hospital team members take great pride in providing world-class care for every patient, and Top 100 recognition is a great reinforcement of all their hard work, patient advocacy and teamwork.”

Click here to view the entire list of top 100 rural hospitals.