News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 25, 2012

Woman charged with hit-and-run receives 6 years

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

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An Owen County woman will serve time in prison for a January 2011 hit-and-run accident that killed an Owen County boy.

Tabitha Jo Blake Lucas, of Quincy, received a six-year prison sentence for the accident that resulted in the death of 12-year-old William “Billy” Bottoms.

“This has been an emotionally taxing case for everybody,” Owen County Prosecutor Donald VanDerMoere told the Tribune-Star, “and we hope for the friends and family of Billy Bottoms, the resolution of this case brings them some measure of comfort.”

The boy and a friend were walking along Indiana 42 in January 2012 on the way home after a teen dance at the Cunot Community Center when a car struck and critically injured Bottoms. Witnesses reported that the motorist fled the scene. Bottoms died of his injuries at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis just hours after being struck by the car.

Citizen tips to police later revealed that Lucas had been driving the car that struck Bottoms.

Lucas appeared in Owen Circuit Court on Tuesday for a change of plea hearing and sentencing on the class-C felony charge of failure to return to the scene of an accident resulting in death. Judge Frank Nardi ordered that she serve two years in prison, with four years suspended to probation. Nardi also ordered that Lucas’ driver’s license be suspended for two years upon her release from prison.

She was taken into police custody at the sentencing hearing. She had posted bond soon after her arrest in February 2011, and had been free while awaiting trial.

Her now-estranged husband William Tracy Lucas, of Quincy, and her father, Mark C. Blake, 47, of Greencastle, were also both charged with obstruction of justice, a class-D felony, for their actions following the incident. In interviews with police, both men stated that they made repairs to the car that struck the child in an attempt to cover up the accident.

Both criminal cases against Tracy Lucas and Blake remain pending in Owen Circuit Court.