Officials: Potholes likely cause of fatal motorcycle crash

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A road littered with potholes got filled Monday morning, less than 24 hours after investigators say they could be what caused a fatal motorcycle accident.

The man on that motorcycle was Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Stofer. The 35-year-old died Sunday evening after investigators say he lost control in the 8900 block Acton Road on the southeast edge of Marion County.

Family members tell 24 Hour News 8 he leaves behind a fiancé and three children.

Marvin Smith works right next to the crash site and said he’s traveled up and down Acton Road his whole life. He said it’s well known for giving drivers a bumpy and sometimes dangerous ride thanks to all the potholes.

“I’ve seen a couple have a blow out. They didn’t have a wreck or anything,” Smith said. “You get to see hubcaps all the time.”

But what he witnessed Sunday evening is unlike anything he’s seen before.

“He was laying face down in the gravel right there along that driveway,” Smith said as he described what he saw Sunday.

That man he was talking about was Deputy Stofer. He’d been with the department for more than a decade, most recently as a transporter for the Adult Processing Center.

“It’s unspeakable the loss not just as a deputy sheriff but as a human being to his family,” said Marion County Sheriff John Layton.

Stofer’s family grieved this afternoon when they stopped by the crash site to place cross in the ground in his honor.

Freshly packed asphalt that filled up several potholes was just a few feet away from their memorial.

Sheriff John Layton said, “I would encourage the public to call the city to let them know where these potholes are at so we can get them filled up before a tragedy like this happens.”

A tragedy that Smith worries could have been avoided if the potholes had been filled up before Sunday.

“I was glad to see it,” he said referencing the fresh asphalt. “But it was just a little late you know, little late.”

“Potholes are a concern throughout Marion County,” Sheriff Layton said. “We worry tremendously about them. But it’s not just Marion County and it’s not just on Acton road, they’re all over. And it’s really tough sometimes for the city to keep up with all the potholes.”

Sheriff Layton said the Indianapolis Department of Public works is working hard to fix the potholes, but that some might slip through the cracks.

Sheriff Layton says even though investigators believe the potholes might have caused the crash, they’re still waiting on toxicology results.

But at this point there was no indication alcohol played a factor.

24 Hour News 8 called DPW and the mayor’s office several times Monday, hoping to get a comment about this investigation as well as the potholes along Acton Road, but our calls were never returned.

Investigators said Stofer wasn’t wearing a helmet when he lost control. Sheriff Layton advocated that all riders should wear one, but he acknowledged that Indiana law leaves that option up to them.

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