2 hurt while trying to help

When a Center Grove area man saw two cars stop across the street from his home Wednesday morning, his first thought was that the drivers were experiencing car trouble.

Adam Helinga soon realized the situation was far more serious when a man got out and began punching the window of the other car, trying to pry the window open and screaming at a woman inside the vehicle.

Helinga ran outside to help, and ended up being dragged down the road by the man’s car. A second man who stopped was struck by the vehicle. Luckily, both men were not seriously injured.

Robert Smith, 23, of Indianapolis, was arrested on two charges of battery with a deadly weapon, and one charge of reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and leaving the scene of an accident causing injury.

Smith’s wife told police she was driving and that her husband had been following her. She had tried to get away from him and couldn’t, and then stopped near the intersection of Lavender Lane and Olive Branch Road to call police from her cellphone, a Johnson County Sheriff’s Office report said. That’s when Smith started banging on her driver’s side window and was trying to pry open the window, the report said.

Helinga, who lives across the street, grabbed Smith to stop him from getting into the car. Another driver who was passing by stopped and called 911, the report said.

Helinga said he made the decision to intervene because it was the right thing to do.

“I had to stop it. I had to help. That is why we are here,” he said.

Both men tried to keep Smith from getting into his vehicle, but couldn’t, the report said.

Smith got into his car and drove away, narrowly missing hitting his wife. He struck the second man who had stopped to help, knocking him onto the roof of Smith’s car, the report said.

Helinga reached into Smith’s car and tried to grab the ignition or switch the gears in neutral. But Helinga’s elbow got caught in the window and he was dragged for about a quarter-mile before he was able to pull himself free, he said.

“He was accelerating,” Helinga said. “We were going 60-some miles per hour down the street.”

Helinga was treated at the scene, the report said. Besides soreness and road rash, Helinga said he is doing OK.

Other witnesses told police that Smith was driving erratically and a business near Olive Branch Road and State Road 37 called and said a vehicle matching the description of Smith’s drove into a ditch and lost a bumper, the report said.

Officers later found Smith asleep at his Indianapolis apartment.

Smith, 4945 Edinborough Lane, was arrested and taken to the Johnson County jail, where he was held on $9,600 bond.

Author photo
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.