Driver in fatal Indiana bus crash charged with using cocaine

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2015 2:25 PM
Driver in fatal Indiana bus crash charged with using cocaine

GREENFIELD, Ind. (AP) — A church bus driver has been charged with using cocaine before a crash near Indianapolis in July that killed a 6-year-old boy and injured 11 other people.

Hancock County prosecutors this week charged Charles Goodman, 54, with causing death when driving while intoxicated by a controlled substance after blood test results showed signs of cocaine use.

Goodman, of Chicago, was driving a group from Gary's St. Jude Deliverance Center to a religious convention in Ohio July 28 when the 15-passenger bus went out of control and overturned on Interstate 70.

County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said investigators suspected Goodman was intoxicated because a passenger said he seemed unfocused while driving.

"At the time the blood draw was taken, we knew it was a possibility," Eaton told the (Greenfield) Daily Reporter.

Goodman also is charged with reckless homicide and driving with a suspended license. He suffered a broken arm and a fractured jaw and has been jailed since he was released from a hospital the week following the crash.

Goodman has said the bus had suspension and power steering problems. Inspections of the vehicle found no mechanical issues that would have caused the crash, according to court documents.

The Associated Press called Goodman's attorney, James McNew, seeking comment Wednesday.

The crash killed 6-year-old Jacob Williams of Gary. Jacob's family is claiming wrongful death and negligence in a lawsuit naming Goodman and Lois Hill, who owns the bus and is bishop of the St. Jude Deliverance Center. It claims unspecified damages from both, the (Merrillville) Post-Tribune reported.

Tony Walker, an attorney for Jacob's mother Florine Williams-Clark, said Hill bought the van a week before the crash and offered rides to church members heading to the conference.

The lawsuit said Jacob's father and 8-year-old brother were injured in the crash, while his 14-year-old sister witnessed the crash from a vehicle traveling behind the bus.

The Associated Press left a telephone message seeking comment from Hill's attorney, Timothy Swan.