FORT WAYNE – When Christopher Frey drove his Chevrolet Equinox into the back of a party bus, he was drunk, at twice the legal limit.
And the judge, prosecutors and defense attorney agree it was Frey who was responsible for his own death on Interstate 69 in March.
But the driver of the bus, Adam Hoot, 31, was sentenced Friday in Allen Superior Court to two years’ probation and two years in prison, work release or home detention.
Hoot pleaded guilty in June to failure to stop after an accident resulting in death.
Frey, 33, struck the back of the RV that Hoot was driving while the vehicles were near the Goshen Road exit on I-69, and Hoot kept driving, leaving the highway and pulling into a nearby parking lot.
With the loud music in the RV and a party going on, Hoot and the passengers were unsure exactly what occurred, said Hoot’s defense attorney, Patrick Arata.
Hoot waited in the parking lot for the other driver, but none came, Arata said.
A toxicology report revealed Frey’s blood-alcohol level was 0.19 percent, Arata said.
According to court documents, Hoot then drove to Coldwater Road, parked the RV, cleaned it up and got in another vehicle. He then drove slowly past the crash scene.
Police later found that Frey’s vehicle struck the RV so hard that passengers in the RV were thrown from their seats and a woman suffered a back injury.
After Frey hit the back of the RV, a pickup truck swerving to avoid the wreck spun around and hit Frey – a second time. Frey died at the scene of the crash, according to police.
This is a weird set of circumstances, Arata argued during the sentencing hearing. The victim facilitated the events, as hard as that is to say. It’s such a freak situation, so tragic.
Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Jack Roebel agreed with much of Arata’s statements, except the contention that Hoot was unaware of the severity of the crash.
Gull acknowledged Frey’s role in his death but said Hoot failed to comply with the legal obligation to return to the crash scene and speak with police.
She sentenced Hoot to four years in prison but ordered two years suspended and to be served on probation. The additional two years can be served in an alternative sentencing program, such as home detention or work release.