VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Police say a drunk driver travelling at speeds of 110 mph ramped a railroad crossing before crashing into a nearby tree. The crash would cause the death of the passenger in the vehicle, and now, criminal charges for the driver.

That’s according to court documents filed in Vigo County Court regarding a charge of causing a death while operating a vehicle while intoxicated filed against David J. Collins.

Collins, 47, of West Terre Haute, was reportedly driving a 2012 Dodge Charger the night of August 26 when his vehicle would leave E. Harlan Drive and strike a tree.

The crash occurred at 2425 E. Harlan Drive at approximately 9:52 p.m. that night.

Investigating detectives with the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office would note that both Collins and his passenger, Laurie Lowe, had to be extricated from the vehicle by emergency responders. A helicopter was initially called to take Lowe to Indianapolis, however due to the severity of her injuries she was instead rushed to Regional Hospital. Lowe died shortly after.

What investigators say happened

According to a probable cause affidavit, Collins was belligerent with EMS and police personnel as he was loaded onto a stretcher.

“While on the stretcher David was screaming and yelling at EMS and law enforcement. While David was screaming, Deputy Cummins could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath and body.”

Probable Cause Affidavit filed in Vigo County Court

A witness who had also been driving on Harlan Drive at the time told police he saw the Dodge Charger driving very fast and that the vehicle went airborne after hitting a railroad crossing just before the crash.

Investigating police would later locate the vehicle at IAA Indianapolis, an auction house, and using a search warrant retrieved the vehicle’s Event Data Recorder.

“The EDR was entered into evidence. Sgt. Rader confirmed that two separate events were recorded prior to vehicle impact. The first recorded event had the vehicle traveling at 110 mph (2.7 seconds prior to impact). The second recorded event recorded the vehicle traveling at 110 mph (1.8 seconds prior to impact). it was explained that two events may have been recorded due to the vehicle jumping the railroad tracks prior to coming to its final impact area into trees.”

Probable Cause Affidavit filed in Vigo County Court

“David Collins license return shows he hold(sic) a regular Indiana ID card with never obtaining a license, also that status on his ID is suspended infraction,” the PCA reads.

Lab results from Eskenazi Health taken that evening at 10:18 p.m. showed Collins had a reported blood alcohol content of .135%.

Court and jail records show that Collins was booked into the Vigo County Jail on November 6. He would be released on a recognizance bond two days later on Nov. 8.

Collins faces the following charges;

  • Causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated
    • A level 4 felony
  • Causing death when operating a motor vehicle with an ACE of .08 or more
    • A level 4 felony
  • Operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person.
    • A class A misdemeanor
  • Operating a vehicle with ACE of at least .08 but less than .15
    • A class C misdemeanor

Collins is next scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial conference on April 2, 2024 with a jury trial tentatively scheduled for April 30, 2024.