Man ordered to prison for fatal crash

Friday, June 13, 2008

Amidst a packed courtroom Thursday afternoon, Putnam Circuit Court Judge Matt Headley sentenced Cody Wright to 14 years for the car crash that killed the man's girlfriend.

Wright was convicted for his role in the death of a 17-year-old Brandee Siples.

On Nov. 17, 2007, Wright and Siples were returning to Brazil from a trip to Greencastle. Wright was initially clocked by police in his white Chevrolet Camaro just west of Putnamville on US 40 at 117 mph. By the time Wright was clocked again just outside the Indiana State Police Post, he was recorded at 129 mph.

ISP Master Trooper David Furnas was present to testify at the hearing. Furnas was the officer who pursued Wright. He stated that he could not catch Wright due to his police car shutting off at speeds of 130 mph, however he kept him in sight.

On Thursday, the courtroom was filled with the voices from the recording of Furnas' transmission to dispatch during the chase.

According to Furnas, the pursuit covered approximately 10 miles in four minutes. He also stated that when Wright's car went airborne on C.R. 900 West, better known as County Line Road between Putnam and Clay counties, his car was around 20 feet in the air and began to turn over before hitting a tree.

One of Wright's former roommates, Robert Blystone, stated that he knew Wright re-wired the toggle switch on the car so the computer would not know how fast the car was traveling. Prior to being changed, the car would not go over 110 mph, Blystone said. Following the switch, the car proved to go about 145 mph when Wright took it on I-70 between S.R. 59 and S.R. 46, Blystone said.

Terry Siples, Brandee's father, took the stand and told the courtroom about the former relationship Wright had with his daughter and family.

"I trusted Cody with my daughter's life and you can see where that left me," Sipels said. "I told him every time she was in the car with him that he'd better not speed. I miss my little girl very badly."

When Pam Siples, Brandee's mother, took the stand, she spoke about how much Brandee loved Wright. She then looked Wright in the eyes and said, "You can't tell me when you were going 130 mph that Brandee wasn't screaming. You could have stopped and let her out.

"I still go in her room every morning to wake her up, but she's not there," Pam continued.

Pam made the recommendation to the court that Wright receive 17 years.

"That's what he owes me," she said.

Following her request, Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter informed her that the maximum sentence Wright could serve in prison was eight years. Pam replied, "OK, so eight years and nine years probation."

Meanwhile, the defense was attempting to establish Wright's good character by talking about his employment record.

Defense witnesses included Troy Page and Bill Kinley, both of Page's IGA in Brazil where Wright has been employed. Also former managers of Wright at the Brazil Wendy's spoke. All stood up and said Wright had an outstanding work ethic and called him a "great worker" with "a big heart."

Melissa Langdon, a Correctional Case Worker at the Putnamville Correctional Facility, said "Prison will not benefit Mr. Wright. All it will do is make him a hardened person because he has to be able to stand up for himself in prison."

When Wright took the stand, he spoke about his affection for Brandee and the Siples'.

"She was the best girlfriend," Wright said. "For 10 months I saw her every day and she would sit with me when I was in the garage working on cars in 20-degree weather. I miss her all the time."

Prosecutor Bookwalter said that Wright lied during the meeting in his office with the Siples when he told them the car could not go over 117 mph.

During the closing statements, Bookwalter said that Wright had 10 previous tickets and was proven to flee from police. He went on to state "no ticket is worth the loss of anyone's life."

When Judge Headley went to sentence Wright, he spoke briefly about how he did not believe Wright would not run again. He then sentenced Wright to 14 years.

Wright will be forced to serve seven years in the Department of Corrections, with good time credits possible, seven years probation with two years on home electronic monitoring.

During this entire sentence, Wright is not allowed a driver's license. He also must write a weekly letter saying how this sentence is affecting him so as not to ever forget Brandee.

Finally, a 1977 Camaro that Wright and Brandee bought together that Wright had restored and called priceless was awarded to the Siples family.

Pam Siples burst out in tears. The car was estimated to be worth $1,500.

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  • He tested the car @I-70, SR 59 & 46. I shudder to think of the life or lives that endangered !!!

    14 years is a slap on the wrist !!!

    He is a coward. He had every opportunity to STOP the car. This was 1st degree murder. He made the choice to keep driving. Mr.Write needs to live THE REST of his life in PRISON!!

    God Bless Brandee & her family.

    -- Posted by fourhorses on Fri, Jun 13, 2008, at 2:01 AM
  • He should have been chraged with her murder. I do not understand the the trade off. I am sorry for all involved

    -- Posted by madmom61 on Fri, Jun 13, 2008, at 8:34 AM
  • Can someone explain to me why he wasnt charged with her murder??? I would hate to think his sentenced OF 14 years was for her murder and only seven of that will be in prison? OH my Mr. Prosecutor and Mr Judge...You should be ashamed of yourselves for the message you just sent out!! 7 years for murder! RIDICULOUS!!!! I feel very sorry for the Sipels!! They surely have NOT received JUSTICE!

    Sorry to add fuel to the fire, but I must tell you why I feel this is SO UNFAIR... I know of a lady who just received 27years for Drug Trafficking! (Her sentencing was reported in last weeks Hoosier Topics) Two wrongs dont make a right, however why DOES the sentencing for the two crimes seem to need to be "fiped floped"?? Again, I am very sorry for your lost Mr and Mrs Sipel! I personally would have the CAR DESTROYED!!!

    -- Posted by thistownsucks on Fri, Jun 13, 2008, at 9:43 AM
  • I can explain to an extent (i think). First, he took a plea agreement which probably afforded him to get out of vehicular manslaughter (however, I can't attest to the terms of the agreement). But the reason he wouldn't be charged with murder was because there was no premeditation or even intent. Hopefully that helps some.

    -- Posted by kevincrafton on Fri, Jun 13, 2008, at 11:27 AM
  • Thanks... Still just doesnt seem right does it??

    -- Posted by thistownsucks on Fri, Jun 13, 2008, at 11:38 AM
  • Hate to be critical,

    BUT, please, if you are going to use a person's name, at least be considerate and spell it right.

    Brandee Siples

    Brett Siples

    Terry Siples

    Pam Siples

    I know this family, and they have been through enough already.

    -- Posted by Cy on Fri, Jun 13, 2008, at 6:34 PM
  • A 1,500 car awarded and its priceless...that seems a bit of an insult to me. They are making it sound as if the mother won a prize getting this car shame on them.

    -- Posted by flygal026 on Fri, Jun 13, 2008, at 7:48 PM
  • I feel so sorry for this young lady's family. Another young fool that drives too fast and runs from the police, wonder if he was a memebr of the gold club also. Looks like this one caught up with him and about time too!!

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts=idiot on Sat, Jun 14, 2008, at 5:18 PM
  • my apologies on the misspelling of their name. I got the spelling from a different story run back in Nov. when this first occurred. I have gone through and changed it online though. Thanks for letting me know.

    -- Posted by kevincrafton on Mon, Jun 16, 2008, at 8:07 AM
  • If it was my daughter and he had that many tickets she would not have been riding with him at all.

    -- Posted by peace2019 on Mon, Jun 16, 2008, at 9:05 AM
  • This is why parents need to know who their children are involved with. It seems that the girl's father knew of his propensity to drive fast...and I'm assuming that the girl knew too...but continued riding with him. It doesn't relieve him from being responsible for the accident...but he did not force her to ride with him. (I'd like to know how a person with 10 "tickets" can still have a driver's license or enough money to pay for auto insurance!)

    -- Posted by ExHoosier on Tue, Jun 17, 2008, at 9:43 PM
  • Someone please give these kids something to do! Greencastle has absolutely NOTHING for young people to do! And we wonder why they're out doing drugs and in this case racing???

    -- Posted by townielove on Sat, Jun 21, 2008, at 1:49 AM
  • Well maybe if putnam county especially Greencastle had something for younger people to do maybe we wouldn't be out there drinking, and doing drugs or racing cars. You say 14years isn't long enough well u realize he has to live with the mistake he made for the rest of his life sounds like a long time to me. Destroying the car what good would that do its not the cars fault the kid was fleeing from police.

    And ur wondering why a woman trafficking drugs gets 27 and he only gets 7 in prison? Hello selling drugs to kids and other people you know drugs kill a lot more people than vehicle accidents there think about it. By getting rid of her they just saved alot of childrens lives and by putting him in prison for 7 and him not being able to drive for over 14 years by then i bet he won't even car to drive fast.... Use you heads is all i'm saying....

    -- Posted by rooster33 on Sat, Jun 21, 2008, at 9:09 AM
  • your all saying greencastle needs things for kids and maybe it does but they lived in brazil and went to Nothview with me. brandee was a friend of mine and she lived anybody she met. she was a sweetheart and an angel. your talking about giving him a break for what hes done. you can allthink hes going to have to live with it but he blows it off like he did nothing wrong almost as if she killed herself. one week after her death he had a new girlfriend. does that sound like hes sorry? doesnt to me. friends and family are grieving more than he ever did. at his trial it was proven he had 11 speeding tickets and his parents played it well that they didnt know anything. him and his parents played things well but they didnt win. hes deserves what he got but its still not enough. were all paying for what hes done to. we all lost a friend, sister, daughter, cousin, grandaughter, and a loving beutiful 17 year old lady. YOU ARE FOREVER MISSED BRANDEE NICOLE SIPLES!!! REST INPIECE AS YOU FLY WITH THE ANGELS JUST LIKE YOU!

    -- Posted by rest at last angel <3 BNS <3 on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 10:28 PM
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