Driver to avoid prison for 142 mph fatal crash

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A Winona Lake woman who caused a fatal crash along U.S. 30 near Goshen Road in September will avoid prison time thanks to a plea deal she struck with prosecutors.

Stacey R. Motz-Altman, 38, pleaded guilty but mentally ill Wednesday in Allen Superior Court to felony charges of Reckless Homicide and Criminal Recklessness committed with a Deadly Weapon related to the Sept. 8 crash along the eastbound lanes of U.S. 30 near the Goshen Road interchange that killed 54-year-old Luann Simon. The plea deal calls for Motz-Altman to serve 8 1/2 years on active adult probation, with the first year on home detention with electronic monitoring.

Police and medics were called after 11 p.m. that September night to the eastbound lanes of U.S. 30 on a report of a crash. There, police found a black 2015 Infiniti Q50 sedan and 2012 Chevrolet Impala badly wrecked.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Motz-Altman had been speeding her Infiniti 142 mph when she rear-ended Simon’s Impala. The posted speed limit was 50 mph, the affidavit said.

The impact shoved the Impala into the rear of a semi tractor-trailer, and investigators said it may have been dragged underneath the semi’s trailer for several hundred feet before coming to a stop. Simon was left pinned inside her vehicle. She was pulled from the wreckage by Fort Wayne firefighters and taken to a hospital in critical condition where she would later die.

Motz-Altman had no drugs or alcohol in her system at the time of the crash, the affidavit said. She told an officer she’d been ill with food poisoning and was driving to Fort Wayne to get something to eat, the affidavit said.

Motz-Altman said the Impala had slowed down in front of her vehicle, which caused the crash, according to the affidavit.

In court Wednesday, Motz-Altman said, “I recklessly killed another human being.” Motz-Altman told the court she suffers from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. She said she sees a doctor and takes medication for the conditions.

Her attorney added that she was suffering from a severe mental illness at the time of the crash.

More than a dozen people were in the courtroom on behalf of Simon.

Motz-Altman will be sentenced July 31. A judge must accept the plea agreement.

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