22-year-old Derek Andrew Deaton, Canton, stood facing Superior Court Judge Frank Newkirk Jr. Tuesday afternoon and listened as he explained the charges of Failure to Stop After an Accident, a Level 5 Felony.
Deaton, and his parents, who were sitting in the back of the courtoom, were solemn.
“The accident resulted in the injury or death of another person and that you failed to provide reasonable assistance to each person injured in or entrapped by the accident as directed by a law enforcement officer, medical personnel, or 911 telephone operator and immediately give notice of the accident by the quickest means of communication to the local police department, county sheriff or state police post. And the accident resulted in the death to another person, in this case Mitchell Lovins, as you also see on your paperwork, this makes it a Level 5 Felony. Now for a Level 5 Felony, there is an advisory sentence of three years of incarceration. But it could be one to six years of incarceration, the fine is up to $10,000 and the court costs are $183.50 and could result in the suspension of your license.”
Newkirk also advised that he was being held under a full cash bond of $10,000.
Deaton said he could not afford an attorney and Newkirk said one would be appointed.
A pre-trial conference has been set for Feb. 22 at 2p. A trial has initially been set for May 18 at 8:30a.
Deaton was arrested on Monday after a probable cause affidavit was issued in the hit and run accident occurring early Sunday morning on State Road 56 East of Salem.
Indiana State Police Detective Scott Stewart prepared the warrant that was delivered to Washington County Prosecutor Dustin Houchin.
According to the affidavit, Sunday morning at approximately 3:35 am. Chris Bottorff, a Washington County resident, called 911 and reported that a male human body was laying in the roadway on State Road 56 near Quaker Lane.
Officers with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Salem Police Department, and Indiana State Police went to the scene.
A deceased male human body was found and Crime Scene Technicians and Detectives were also called to the scene.
According to the affidavit, pieces of auto parts were found near the body.
Detective Brent Miller located a vehicle in a ditch to the west of the body approximately 1/2 of a mile. The vehicle was identified as belonging to Mitchell Lovins of Scottsburg.
The preliminary investigation revealed sometime around 3:00 am Sunday morning Lovin’s vehicle, a mini-van, slid off of the roadway going west on State Road 56.
When this occurred, police suspect Lovins left his vehicle and started walking east on State Road 56.
An autopsy of the body was performed Sunday afternoon. The preliminary cause of death was multiple areas of blunt force trauma. The body was identified as Lovins, who was 70 years old.
On Monday, an unidentified female came to the Indiana State Police Post in Sellersburg and told Trooper Cain that on Sunday at approximately 3a, she and Deaton left Slimo’s Saloon enroute to the Waffle House in Scottsburg, with Deaton driving on SR 56 East.
She and Deaton had consumed alcoholic beverages.
Deaton struck an object in the roadway while traveling east in a red Chevrolet S10 truck.
She said Deaton told her that he had hit a deer. They then went to Deaton’s residence located in Canton.
The female stated that the windshield and drivers side headlight area had been damaged.
Detective Brent Miller, Detective Dave Mitchell, and Detective Stewart went to Deaton’s residence and Derek Deaton’s father, John, agreed to let the officers look at Derek’s pickup truck, which was in the garage.
John Deaton told police that it had been wrecked and that his son said that he had hit a deer.
Steward said he noticed the vehicle had extensive damage to the windshield and front driver’s side headlight area.
The vehicle was transported to the Indiana State Police Post via wrecker for further investigation.
Detectives Miller and Mitchell interviewed Deaton at the Washington County Sheriff’s Department where Deaton admitted that he and the female were at Slimo’s Saloon, left and traveled on State Road 56 where he struck a male person.
Deaton stated that he knew that he had hit a human and left the scene without notifying authorities.