[Nameplate] Mostly Cloudy ~ 50°F  
High: 60°F
Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015

Jason Hays on trial; jury selected Monday

Monday, January 28, 2013

Jason M. Hays is accused of causing a tragic accident that claimed the life of a young mother, Savanah Allen, on February 15, 2012 in eastern Greene County.

Police allege Hays, 30 years old at the time, was operating his vehicle with a controlled substance, specifically methamphetamine, in his blood at the time of the crash, and this week he's on trial in Greene Circuit Court.

Jury selection began at 9 a.m. Monday to seat 14 people -- 12 jurors plus two alternates. Following their selection and a lunch recess, jurors were given instructions by Judge Erik Allen around 2:30 p.m. followed by opening arguments.

Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw said there are some facts that both the prosecution and the defense agree upon: That Allen was killed, at the age of 25, when her car collided with a Jeep driven by Hays. The cause of her death, according to autopsy results, was massive blunt force trauma to her head, her chest, her abdomen and her extremities.

Allen was pronounced dead on the scene by Greene County Coroner Sherry Wilson.

The crash occurred around 10 a.m. about 1,800 feet west of the junction of State Roads 445 and 45, east of the entrance into the Lawrence Hollow area.

Allen was westbound on the highway in a 1998 Chevrolet Lumina. Hays was eastbound in a 2008 Jeep Laredo.

The Jeep crossed a double yellow line and hit the Lumina head-on.

The prosecution claims Hays refused a chemical test following the accident but officers obtained blood for analysis from the seat and airbag of the Laredo. They claim tests show there was methamphetamine in the blood samples obtained, and they are a match to Hays.

The prosecution also claims Hays was traveling at 60 mph at the time of the crash and the brakes were not applied.

They are expected to call a number of witnesses including a woman who was traveling behind Hays who stopped at the scene before police or emergency medical personnel arrived, detectives and officers who were on the scene or investigated the case, an Indiana State Police Trooper who is an accident reconstructionist, and a forensic toxicologist.

Hays is being represented by Defense Attorney James Riester serving as a public defender.

In Riester's opening argument, he said there were no witnesses to the accident and the defendant does not have a clear memory of the crash.

Riester claims law enforcement did not follow standards during their investigation and their conclusions are flawed.

Riester said the defendant was not required to give a blood sample -- according to Indiana law, the state has to offer the test and if he refuses, he could lose his license for one year, but there is no requirement to take the test.

In addition, he said the defendant did not exhibit signs of alcohol or drug use right after the crash, and there is no medical evidence that the methamphetamine that was in the blood sample was in the defendant's blood when it was in his body.

Riester said the scene was mishandled and evidence was contaminated.

Hays has been charged with a class B felony, operating a vehicle with a Schedule I or II (methamphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance) controlled substance in the body causing death.

The trial will continue on Tuesday and is expected to last four days.

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on gcdailyworld.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

I know that a person is intitled to be represented in a case against them, but my gosh this guy was drunk and possibly on drugs and speeding. I know if he is convicted he wont get many years unless the law has changed since, August 1989 my brother Larry Haywood lost his daughter and grandson to a drunk driving accident, it was so tragic it not only affects the person or person's who gets killed family, but also the drunk his family. I watched my mother go down hill after this happened, none of our family was the same.My brother does presentation about drunk drivers its is a very moving story and he travels all over the state of Indiana and he does this by word of mouth. IU has had him speak quite a few times to students and professors also. He goes to schools and also whereever they contact him he goes, he speaks about 90 times a year. If you watched and listened to it you would stop and hopefully think before you drove, or hopefully never drunk and drink again. He also is involved with MADD has since this happened, and he does other things involved with drinking and driving. He has said if he can just stop one person from drinking and driving it is worth all the pain and suffering he goes through. Mr. Hays should just tell his attorney and the Judge to sentence him and not put the family through this. Stand up and be a man about this.Admit this was your fault you took the life of a young lady. I hope you relive this everyday, like her family does.

-- Posted by ivfaambell@gmail.com on Tue, Jan 29, 2013, at 12:34 AM

Nothing in this article mentions drinking. People are very quick to jump to assumptions, and even if Mr. Hays is at fault, he also has a family who is likely suffering at this time. We are fortunate to live in a country where we have a judicial system that allows people a fair trial. No one benefits from such negative remarks.

-- Posted by reader0129 on Tue, Jan 29, 2013, at 8:49 AM

That has to be the dumbest argument I've ever read....no medical evidence that the methamphetamine found in the blood sample was in the defendant's blood when it was in his body??? Are you serious? Did it just happen to land on the blood from thin air? And one question...how many times should an offender be allowed to continue to cause damage in society before being put away forever?

-- Posted by 3rsmom on Tue, Jan 29, 2013, at 9:21 AM

Who gave Savanah a fair trail? Did she get any choice in this. She did not choose for him to do drugs and cross the center line and hit her. Would you like someone with his record to be driving on the same road with your family? I do believe he should receive a fair trail and if found guilty should his fate be the same as Savanah's?

-- Posted by thatswhatithink on Tue, Jan 29, 2013, at 4:52 PM

I'm praying that justice is served for our dear, sweet Savanah, and the jury is not swayed by the public defender's fog he is trying to cast on the evidence. Yes, 3rsmom, he, for real, is trying to say the meth came from thin air and landed on the blood.

-- Posted by gocolts on Tue, Jan 29, 2013, at 9:47 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: