Chesterton Tribune



Teen would avoid jail in hit-and-run death plea deal

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A Union Township teen has agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge in a hit-and-run accident which left a South Haven man mortally injured last year.

Ryan Cash, 19, with a listed address of 425W 550N, Apt. C, was originally charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, a Class C felony punishable by a term of two to eight years.

Cash has agreed to plead guilty to an amended charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury, a Class D felony punishable by a term of six months to three years.

The plea agreement stipulates a sentence of three years in the Indiana Department of Corrections, with two years suspended and the balance to be served on home detention, according to documents filed on Friday by the Porter County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Porter County Sheriff’s Police officers were dispatched to a personal injury crash in the 700 block of Capitol Road, where they found Brian Hagerman, 45, lying unresponsive and vomiting in the roadway, with “a large open wound on the back of his head.”

Hagerman succumbed to a fractured skull caused by blunt force trauma five days later, on April 11, at Memorial Hospital in South Bend.

Hagerman’s wife gave the PCSP the following account. She and her husband had been watching television when they “heard a loud crash and glass shattering.” The two of them, along with their son and his friends, went outside to investigate and several of them--including Hagerman--walked into the street, where they began yelling at the occupants of a car whom they suspected of the vandalism.

“As (Hagerman) was walking in the street the car approached them, stopped, backed up, and then proceeded forward, striking his father,” the PCSP said. Hagerman “went up onto the hood of the vehicle, where he grabbed a hold of the hood,” but he was unable to maintain his grip and fell from the car onto the pavement.

The suspect vehicle--identified as a silver Chevrolet Malibu or Impala--then left the scene.

On Monday, April 8, investigators received information from a Union Township woman, who advised that a vehicle which she owns might be the suspect vehicle and that it was driven by her son, Ryan Cash, the PCSP said.

Investigators subsequently interviewed Cash, who advised that he and his friends were driving around South Haven looking for the residence of an “Alex” because “he had damaged property of theirs.” In the 700 block of Capitol Road, they found what they believed to be “Alex’s” home, one of his passengers then exited the car and smashed a window at the residence, and on that passenger’s return to the car, he left the scene.

However, Cash advised, he drove into a dead-end and was forced to return the way he had come, where he encountered a number of people in the roadway. Cash “stopped his car and then began to drive slowly up the road,” the PCSP said. “All of the people in the road moved out of the way except for an older male. As (Cash) continued to move forward, the man jumped on the hood of his car and (Cash) kept driving. (Cash) continued driving until the man rolled off. (Cash) said he did not stop because he thought the man would hurt them. He then drove back to a friend’s house, where he stayed for several hours.”

Three passengers in Cash’s car gave investigators accounts similar to Cash’s, the PCSP said. “They also said that no one in the car called the police or ambulance to help the man who fell off the car.”


Posted 4/2/2014