Morgan County couple says charges against man suspected of driving drunk don't reflect injuries
Matthew McKinney faces OWI endangering person
Last Updated: 223 days ago
MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. - Warning, the video associated with this story contains graphic images.
A Morgan County couple seriously hurt in a crash with a man police said was drinking behind the wheel is upset he's not facing more serious charges.
Travis and Kristen Ferran were driving along State Road 142 East in Morgan County last May when they were struck head-on by Matthew McKinney, police said.
The officer at the scene noted that people in both vehicles were injured, and described a strong smell of alcohol coming from McKinney's car, where police said they found an open container and a cooler with more alcohol.
McKinney's blood-alcohol level tested at 0.08 hours after the crash, police said, and he was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person and operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more.
But the Ferrans are upset McKinney isn't facing the more serious charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury, which carries a maximum sentence of eight years, rather than three for the lesser charge.
Kristen Ferran has undergone 13 surgeries since the crash, while Travis Ferran has had seven surgeries, leaving the couple deeply in debt.
"Our cell phones blow up. We have collections calling us, we have hospitals calling us, wanting money," Kristen Ferran said. "There's some days when Travis and his mom would get me ready in the morning, and it was hard."
Morgan County Deputy Prosecutor Robert Cline told RTV6 he filed charges based on the probable cause affidavit, which doesn't describe the seriousness of the couple's injuries.
"Serious bodily injures is broken bones, loss of consciousness, impairment of an organ. Now my understanding is factually that did happen, but I have a probable cause affidavit that I have to make charging decisions off of," he said.
But Cline said refiling the charges could compromise the case altogether.
"If I dismiss this case and refile the more serious charges, is that worth the potential of losing the case entirely based on criminal rule four and not getting to prosecute this person at all?" he asked.
McKinney has a string of past arrests, including a 2008 conviction for drunken driving. Still, even if he's convicted on both counts in this case, he'll serve three years or less, if he serves anytime at all.
The Ferrans want something done.
"To not notice that it was such a serious crash is just astonishing to me," Travis Ferran said. "He's just getting a slap on the wrist and will have a chance to do it again to someone else."
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