It’s been two years since a devastating accident in the town of Cayuga took three teenage lives. Today Ethan Lee, the young man responsible for the crash, pleaded guilty.
Ethan Lee pleaded guilty to three counts of reckless homicide. One for North Vermillion teammate Braeden Hollowell, one for Annie Clark and her sister Caroline of Muncie.
Under this plea agreement, he is expected to get five years for each of the three counts but he will serve the time concurrently totaling to five years.
The courtroom on Monday was clearly divided. On one side, the families of the victims who died in Ethan Lee’s truck two winters ago and on the other side, the family of the lone survivor.
Lee entered a guilty plea for the reckless homicide of Annie and Caroline Clark and his teammate and friend Braeden Hollowell.
I talked with some of Braeden’s family off camera who say this is a touchy case. The town of Cayuga is tight knit. We found that out when we covered the tragic accident in January of 2015.
“I have been cheering on these boys since kindergarten. For them to go to state. You know, it’s just really sad after what they accomplished and they only had one more semester to go and they were such good guys,” Billy Jo Dowers said.
Braeden’s family says Ethan is not a bad kid, he just didn’t react the right way following the accident.
Lee reported losing control of his truck along County Road 400 north crashing into the colonial brick business at a speed of 45 miles per hour.
Investigators believe he was traveling 87 miles per hour.
Lee was charged with three counts of reckless homicide, 1 count of criminal mischief, 1 count of reckless driving and 1 count of false informing.
Under his plea agreement, he will only serve time for the three counts of reckless homicide, if approved, the state will dismiss the other counts.
A year ago we talked to Donna Stambaugh who was in the Colonial Brick Building when Lee crashed his truck.
“I think the community would like to never forget about Braeden as far as what a great kid he was, the potential he had and how he never got to fill that potential, but I think the community would like to remember the good and not remember that day everything went so tragically wrong,” Stambaugh said.
Under this plea agreement, Ethan Lee will serve his time in the Vermillion County Jail during vacations and summer break weekends while he studies at IUPUI.
That totals to 128 days served in jail. He’ll also be on formal at home detention for the first three years of probation and two years informal probation. During a year of that time his driver’s license will be suspended. Lee’s sentencing hearing will be March 9.