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Monday, May 2, 2016

$20,000 bond set for driver in fatal crash

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Bond has been set at $20,000 Monday for a Center Point man accused of driving while intoxicated in a wreck that killed a Putnam County teen and seriously injured two other people Sunday morning.

"Not guilty, I wasn't driving," were the words Michael William Knight, 20 said to Judge Robert Lowe during the arraignment in Putnam Superior Court.

Knight is charged with failing to stop after an accident resulting in death, a class C felony, two counts of causing serious bodily injury when driving while intoxicated, a class D felony, driving while intoxicated causing death, a class D felony, and driving while intoxicated endangering a person, a class A misdemeanor.

The charges stem from a crash west of Cloverdale on CR 1000 South at CR 200 West in which police say Elizabeth Nichole Wehrheim, 19, sustained fatal injuries.

Police reports say the 2002 Oldsmobile Bravada in which Wehrheim was a passenger and which Knight was driving, missed a curve in the road and hit a fence post, sending it airborne for 44 feet. The vehicle hit a tree on the passenger side. Wehrheim and two other passengers, Keanon Dickison, 19, and Nathan T. Archer, 24, were all transported for medical treatment. She was pronounced dead at Methodist Hospital shortly after being airlifted by helicopter, while the two men remained hospitalized Monday in stable condition.

Sgt. Tom Helmer of the Putnam County Sheriff's Dept. said Knight's blood-alcohol content tested .06 percent three hours after the incident. In Indiana, .08 percent BAC is considered legally intoxicated.

The police report details that officers searched for Knight for three hours in a 300-acre wooded area near the crash scene after Knight was seeing fleeing a home where he had gone to ask for help. Several police officers, canines and volunteers searched the area for Knight. Helmer reported that after he located Knight back at the crash scene inside an ambulance "the officer observed the smell of intoxicating beverages upon his person. (Knight's) eyes were bloodshot and his speech was somewhat slurred and incoherent."

In court Monday, Judge Lowe informed Knight he could face a possible sentence of up to 16 years in prison before setting the bond at $20,000.

Friends and family of Knight pleaded with the judge to release him from custody to attend the funeral of Wehrheim, his girlfriend. That funeral has been set for 11 a.m. Wednesday in Indianapolis. (See obituaries, page 12).

The judge's recommendation was that Knight hire an attorney, who could begin the formal process of requesting a reduction in bond, he said.

Knight remained in custody at the Putnam County Jail Tuesday morning.

Court records show Knight is also on probation in Clay County for a possession of marijuana conviction.

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