Man in deadly crash enters blind plea
A Corydon man who was intoxicated at the time of a crash that killed an infant last year was sentenced in Harrison Superior Court.
Gregory W. Puckett was initially charged with misdemeanors of illegal consumption of an alcoholic beverage by a minor and operating a vehicle while intoxicated after police said he was driving his Ford truck when he hit Rachel Blumenstock’s Honda at the intersection of S.R. 62 and Hidden Valley Road Northeast on the evening of Oct. 11. Blumenstock was rushed to University Hospital in Louisville while her infant daughter was pronounced dead at the scene.
On April 20, the consumption charge was dismissed while Puckett entered a blind plea of guilty to Class A misdemeanor OWI. His one-year jail sentence was partially suspended, with 60 days to serve. In addition, he is required to complete time in a probation-approved halfway house. Puckett’s blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash was 0.15. In Indiana, a person is presumed to be intoxicated when their BAC is at least 0.08.
In Indiana, even if a person is intoxicated, if the other driver is the cause of the crash, the intoxicated person cannot be charged with OWI causing death.
‘This is a tragic case that has undoubtedly affected multiple lives, including the loss of a young child,’ Harrison County Prosecutor J. Otto Schalk said. ‘Although Puckett was impaired, for an aggravated charge of OWI causing death, there must be evidence indicating that the impaired operator’s driving was the primary cause of the accident.
‘Upon a thorough investigation by the Indiana State Police and Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept., it was determined that probable cause only existed for the charges that Mr. Puckett plead guilty to,’ he said.