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Woman charged in teen’s death

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A woman has been charged in the death of a teenage pedestrian she hit with her car after investigators found she had a blood-alcohol content more than four times the legal limit and marijuana in her system.

Tabitha Walters, 33, of 278 Winthrop Road, New Whiteland, has been charged with one felony count of causing death when operating a vehicle while intoxicated. When the accident happened in May, Walters was out of jail on bond after being charged with a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated in October, according to court documents and a news release from the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office.

Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper also will request Walters’ bond from her October arrest be revoked. If she’s convicted on both the felony and misdemeanor charges, she would face between 6½ and 23 years in jail, Cooper said.

“She seems to be quite a menace at this point in time,” Cooper said.

Walters was driving south on Emerson Avenue north of Tracy Road when she hit 19-year-old Tyler Deputy about 5:40 p.m. on May 11. Investigators know Walters was at a bar and had paid her bill at 5 p.m. and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.37 percent — more than four times the legal limit — after the accident. Toxicology reports also show she had marijuana in her system, a Johnson County Sheriff’s Office report said. Deputy died later that day at a hospital.

Fatal crash investigations sometimes takes weeks or months as investigators need to wait for all blood work, interviews and any additional follow-up work to be complete, Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox and Cooper said.

Deputy, who was engaged and had a 15-month-old daughter, was making a three-mile walk from his apartment to see his father when he was hit.

Three witnesses who saw the crash told deputies they saw Deputy walking south along the southbound shoulder of Emerson Avenue just before the accident. Deputy had started to cross the street when Walters’ car crossed the center line of Emerson Avenue and hit him. The speed limit along the road was 40 mph, and Walters’ car didn’t slow down, the report said.

Deputies could smell alcohol coming from Walters and her car. She was taken to Community Hospital South in Indianapolis, where she was treated for neck pain. Investigators drew blood for toxicology tests at the hospital. Officials also verified that Walters hadn’t been given any narcotics or medication in the ambulance or at the hospital that would alter the results, the report said.

The results showed her blood-alcohol content and that Walters likely had smoked marijuana from 20 hours before to the time the accident, Cooper said.

Investigators also interviewed the owner and bartenders of an Indianapolis bar Walters had been to the day of the crash, who told them Walters had been served alcohol up to about 5 p.m., the report said.

Laurie Campbell, Deputy’s mother, said her family has

been anxiously waiting to see whether Walters would be arrested.

“It’s about time,” she said.

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