Plea agreement accepted by judge in Ethan Lee case

A Vermillion County Judge accepted a plea agreement in the Ethan Lee case from 2015.

Posted: Nov 2, 2017 12:44 PM
Updated: Nov 2, 2017 3:43 PM

VERMILLION COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - A Vermillion County Judge accepted a plea agreement in the Ethan Lee case from 2015.

The change of plea hearing was scheduled after his trial for Nov. 1 was vacated.

  • Ethan Lee will serve a 1,825 executed sentence
  • 1,095 of those days will be in home detention
  • Then 730 of those days will be probation
  • His direct placement will begin on Dec. 22
  • Lee will also serve 80 days in jail
  • Of those 80 he will most likely serve 60 for good behavior
  • Lee will begin serving his jail time on May 17, 2018

Police say Lee crashed his truck into the Colonial Brick Corporation building in Cayuga back on January 2 of 2015. Police say Lee was speeding when his truck hit a rise in the roadway, which caused him to lose control and hit an embankment.

Three teenagers died in this accident.

Two of the victims were sisters from Muncie, 18-year-old Anne Clark and Caroline Clark. 18-year-old Braeden Hollowell also died in this accident.

You may recall back in March when a Vermillion County Judge denied a previous plea agreement in this case. In that agreement, Lee agreed to plead guilty to three counts of reckless homicide.

That deal called for five years’ probation and weekend incarcerations.

Now the latest possible plea agreement, which has been accepted by the judge, includes the following: Lee has plead guilty to three counts of criminal recklessness resulting in death, which are all level 5 felonies with 1,825 day sentence total.

Lee will have 1,095 days of in home detention with 80 days in jail. Lee will still be able to attend college.

Dec. 22 is when his direct placement will begin and then he will serve his jail time starting May 17, 2018. After that, he will go back on direct placement in which he must reside in Vermillion County.

Officials report Lee could serve 60 of his 80 days if he receives time for good behavior as level 5 felonies require 75 percent of the sentence to be served.

Because Lee entered a plea agreement, he waived his right to an appeal in regards to the sentencing.

After the judge accepted the agreement, family members of those killed in the crash began giving their witness testimony.

John and Jill Clark, Anne and Caroline's parents, gave emotional testimony as to the loss they have suffered. They spoke on behalf of their son who says he fears for his family whenenver they get into a vehicle. They asked that Lee shouldn't get a second chance...

“Please keep our streets safe.” Jill Clark asked that Lee take driving classes.

Jennifer Brown, Braeden Hollowell's mother, spoke after that. She spoke of how Braeden tried every sport he could and she recalled the football season when North Vermillion won state. She said she would never forget that day. 

"...it’s a daily struggle to deal with this. Every plan has been dashed by his death."

Ethan Lee made a statement expressing how "incredibly sorry" he was for the their loss due to his actions. He stated he knows he cannot understand their grief and he doesn't understand why his life was spared while his friends were not. 

The judge accepted the terms of the plea agreement, found Lee guilty of the three counts. In addition to the original terms of the plea agreement, Lee will also be required to take driving classes, serve 8 hours every month at the Parke Vermillion Humane Shelter and will also be required to speak at schools. 

The judge stated Lee must own responsibility for the lives lost. 

Lee's license will be suspended for four years and and hill not be allowed to possess firearms or ammunition. 

News 10’s Jon Swaner will continue to follow this story and bring you the latest when information becomes avaialble. 

For a complete break down of the events in the courtroom, check out Jon Swaner's Twitter feed by clicking here.

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