Man Pleads Not Guilty In Hit-And-Run Of Pregnant Woman
Prosecutors Say Man Intentionally Fled Crash Scene
Last Updated: 975 days ago
A man charged with two felonies after police said he struck a woman who was nine months pregnant and fled the scene of the crash pleaded not guilty Tuesday in an initial court hearing.Jody Lee, 38, turned himself in last week after police said he admitted striking Maria Benitez-Acateo, 25, on Oct. 11 at the intersection of Maryland Street and Elder Avenue.According to a probable cause affidavit, witnesses identified Lee as the driver and told police that he quickly left the scene after hitting the victim."When anybody strikes a pedestrian, they have an absolute duty to stop and, under certain circumstances, render aid or at least call for assistance," said David Wyser, chief trial deputy at the Marion County Proesecutor's Office. "Without getting into the facts of the case, that is not what occurred."Benitez-Acateo delivered a healthy baby boy by emergency cesarean section hours after the crash. She suffered severe lacerations to her head and face.Lee was charged with operating a motor vehicle after his license had been forfeited for life and failure to stop after an accident resulting in serious bodily injury.The probable cause affidavit indicated that an anonymous tipster told police that Lee tried to have the pickup truck involved in the crash destroyed. Police were able to find it a short time after receiving the tip, and Lee turned himself in the next day, crying as he told officers that he didn't want to go back to jail.Lee's wife, Dawn Lee, told 6News last week that her husband only fled the scene because he was afraid he would be attacked by an angry mob. Someone using his cell phone called 911 after the crash.Lee was freed on $20,000 bond. A judge told him not drive and said that if he is arrested again, his bond will be revoked and he will remain in jail until trial.Lee, who has lived in Indianapolis and Plainfield, has prior convictions for battery, driving while intoxicated, carrying a handgun without a license, auto theft, forgery and resisting law enforcement. His driver's license was suspended for life in 2003, but he was convicted of operating a vehicle with a suspended license in 2006.