Prosecutor files more serious charge against driver accused in Morgan County DUI crash

New charge carries up to 8 years in prison

MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. - The Morgan County Prosecutors Office has filed more serious charges against a man accused of driving drunk and seriously injuring a couple.

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 were upset McKinney wasn't initially 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.

Morgan County Deputy Prosecutor Robert Cline told RTV6 he filed the initial 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.

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."

McKinney has a string of past arrests, including a 2008 conviction for drunken driving.

Follow Ebone Monet on Twitter: @ebonemonet26


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