July 2015 year end


Community Health Network agreed to pay $20.3 million to settle claims from state and federal authorities that it overbilled Medicaid and Medicare for outpatient surgeries, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice.


Greenwood-based Tilson HR planned to add 245 jobs and invest $1.55 million to renovate and expand its headquarters in the South Park Business Center, just off Interstate 65. Tilson HR employed 70 people at its headquarters in Greenwood but had grown by nearly 50 percent in the past year.

The woman whose southside house exploded, killing two people, testified that her former boyfriend was determined to burn the home down for insurance money and became angry when the first two attempts failed. Monserrate Shirley, 49, said she became distraught when neighbors called her after the November 2012 explosion and told her she had no home to return to.


Drivers were cutting through parking lots, darting between lanes, chancing yellow lights and doing U-turns to avoid sitting in traffic at Smith Valley Road and State Road 135. Traffic had gotten worse since motorists who normally would take Main Street to and from State Road 135 were using Smith Valley Road due to construction. Main Street was closed at Averitt Road while workers built a roundabout.


A new structure, meant to mimic a two-story home or apartment building, would allow firefighters to practice getting into a burning building and finding and rescuing people inside. The training facility will be built out of large metal shipping containers on land at the Bargersville fire station at Smokey Row and Mullinix roads. The facility will have separate rooms and a sloped roof 40 feet off the ground, similar to that of a two-story home.


A man accused of blowing up a southside home for the insurance money, killing two neighbors and devastating a neighborhood, told a former friend days before the explosion that his house had blown up and he wanted to buy a luxury car — a $300,000 Ferrari, the ex-friend testified at a court hearing. Mark Leonard had said that strong winds blew out the fireplace and caused the explosion in the neighborhood just north of County Line Road, but the story didn’t ring true, Mark Duckworth told jurors.


Franklin was planning a $675,000 project to help pedestrians heading to schools, shopping centers and neighborhoods cross U.S. 31. The project at Mallory Parkway, planned to be done in 2019, would include new sidewalks, stop signals and a pedestrian island in the middle of the highway.


Whoever filled a southside home with natural gas and poured gasoline in two rooms likely did not know the mixture would create the powerful explosion that gutted a neighborhood three years ago, killing two neighbors and damaging more than 80 homes, an expert testified in the trial of Mark Leonard, who prosecutors said plotted with his then-girlfriend and half brother to blow up the Richmond Hill home on the southside.


After getting a call from his ex-girlfriend, sheriff’s deputies began looking for a man who was distraught and had threatened to harm himself. They soon found Daryll K. Hedges, 31, in a park on the southside, sitting in his truck. Soon after, a standoff began in Glenns Valley Nature Park, and Hedges was shot multiple times by police. He was rushed to an Indianapolis hospital.

Sheriff’s deputies and police dogs searched a Center Grove area neighborhood after someone broke into multiple cars. A woman called police after she heard her garage door begin to open and then stop at 3:30 a.m. in the Pebble Hills neighborhood, near Fairview and Morgantown roads.


A man shot by two sheriff’s deputies charged at them before they opened fire, police said. Two Johnson County sheriff’s deputies tried to get Daryll Hedges, 31, to get out of his vehicle at a southside park. They had called for help from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers, saying the man was suicidal, possibly armed and not cooperating with police. Hedges then charged at the two deputies, who fired at him, police said.


Rooftops were covered with tarps, hundreds of homes were without power, and trees were down on homes and power lines after a tornado passed through southern Johnson County. About 10 homes had trees in or through them in Prince’s Lakes after the storm passed through, with some homes livable and others needing inspection before residents could return.


Tree limbs were scattered across roads, stuck in power lines and lying on houses and vehicles after a severe storm hit Johnson County for the second day in a row. More than 7,000 customers were without power for several hours after the storm hit Johnson County.


The parents of a couple killed in a southside home explosion said they were relieved and saddened by the jury’s guilty verdicts on all counts. The jury convicted Mark Leonard, 46, of all counts against him, including murder, arson and insurance fraud, for his role in the Richmond Hill home explosion that devastated the neighborhood three years ago, killing the couple living in the neighborhood.


An Indianapolis man would spend decades in prison after his conviction for a house explosion scheme that killed two neighbors, and prosecutors urged a judge to make him eligible for life without parole. Defense attorney Diane Black argued that prosecutors failed to prove the necessary aggravating factors that would make Mark Leonard eligible for the harshest penalty they were seeking.

A new nature preserve was planned in southern Johnson County after the Central Indiana Land Trust bought property between Prince’s Lakes and Lamb Lake.


A company was interested in transforming a 1.8-acre property on the northwest corner of U.S. 31 and Whiteland Road into a restaurant and possibly retail shops or office space. Nothing had been proposed or approved by the town, but a restaurant owner was interested in moving in, town manager Norm Gabehart said.

A state senator who lives in Greenwood said he is planning a run for Congress. State Sen. Brent Waltz, who represents areas of White River Township and southern Marion County, plans to run for the 9th Congressional District seat.


If Interstate 69 followed the path of a widened State Road 37, crashes and congestion would be reduced compared with the current highway, but more businesses would be impacted and possibly forced to move. That route, which would bring I-69 through Johnson County and the southside, is one of the top recommendations of both state and federal offices, along with four others.


Residents had to be evacuated in boats from a Center Grove area neighborhood after nearly 5 inches of rain fell, and the ground was too saturated to absorb any more water.


Greenwood officials were trying to determine what caused two sinkholes in Market Plaza and who should be responsible for fixing them. The 4-foot-deep sinkholes developed following weeks of heavy rain and a construction project on Pleasant Creek.


Vehicle break-ins left residents replacing IDs, canceling credit cards and getting new electronics. Of at least nine vehicles that were broken into one evening, six of the owners were not aware that burglars had been inside. Every year during the summer months, vehicle break-ins are the top calls and reports to the sheriff’s office.


Police continued to investigate the murders of Chynna Dickus, 26, and Blake Dickus, 10, on July 24, 2006, including the angle of recent break-ins in the area. They haven’t been able to rule out whether the murders were connected to a string of burglaries nearby, when a total of five homes were broken into within a half-mile of the home where the murders took place.


For nearly two weeks, several businesses on U.S. 31, Graham Road and Whiteland Road had been without phone service. The problem began July 12, when a manhole flooded during heavy rain, damaging a cable line that carries phone service to multiple properties.


The Center Grove community was mourning after a mother and her two children were killed in a fiery crash on Interstate 65 near Lafayette. Jill E. Buck, 47, and sons, Aidan, 8, and Branson, 10, died in the crash in a construction area on the interstate. Jill Buck’s husband, Paul Buck, was an assistant principal at Center Grove High School, and Jill Buck was an eye doctor at South Grove Eye Care in the Center Grove area.

Police were investigating whether a Franklin man who set his wife on fire was the driver of a truck who went the wrong way on Interstate 65 and crashed head-on into a semi in Greenwood. Police had not confirmed the identity of the truck driver who was killed after the vehicle burst into flames. But police said the truck in the accident on I-65 near Greenwood was the same one driven by Donn Keever, after he poured gasoline on his estranged wife, set her on fire and left a Franklin home before police arrived.


Work began to repair and upgrade a section of Jefferson Street, west of U.S. 31, requiring the road to be closed to through traffic and motorists to detour around the area. The project was the first of several sections of the road that were planned to be upgraded in the next few years.

Residents of a Franklin neighborhood were in shock following an incident in which a woman, Amy Keever, was doused with gasoline and set on fire. Keever’s husband, Donn Keever, who was suspected of starting the blaze, fled the scene in a red Dodge Ram, which was involved in a fatal head-on crash on Interstate 65 later that day, police said.


Ten-year-old Cydney Jackson was days away from beginning fifth grade at Northwood Elementary School in Franklin when her life was cut short. She was killed in an off-road vehicle accident in southeastern Indiana.

The same day police said he came to his wife’s house, doused her with gasoline and set her on fire, Donn Keever had been served with divorce papers. Donn and Amy Keever had been married for 18 years when Amy filed for divorce July 10, saying the couple had an irretrievable breakdown in marriage.


Hundreds of bubbles were carried into the evening sky at Northwood Elementary School when more than 100 teachers, friends, family members and classmates gathered to remember 10-year-old Cydney Jackson. Cydney was killed in an off-road vehicle accident in southeastern Indiana.


Police were looking for two men and a car they suspected were connected to at least one vehicle break-in in the Center Grove area. Police were called to the Shadow Hills neighborhood near Peterman and Fairview roads where a resident reported his truck had been broken into overnight.


A busy Franklin intersection near two schools and the hospital was planned to become a new roundabout. The city was planning a nearly $1 million project at Jefferson Street and Westview Drive in 2020 to help improve traffic flow.

A project to remove dangerous curves on State Road 44 was scheduled to wrap up, but recent heavy rainfall pushed the project back nearly a month. The project would fix a dangerous curve along State Road 44 at Centerline Road. Workers were realigning a quarter-mile of the highway, moving the road 1,500 feet to the west of the curve and reconnecting Centerline Road with State Road 44.