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All charges dismissed against Zionsville man in fatal 2016 crash

Amended report, private expert say victim was driving at the time
Posted at 5:39 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 17:39:53-04

BOONE COUNTY — The State of Indiana has dropped all 10 charges against a Zionsville man who was charged in a 2016 fatal crash in Boone County after the Boone County Prosecutor's Office received an amended crash report in August 2021.

The suspect was arrested in 2018 in connection with the death of James Dupler, 21. After the crash, the suspect told police he was too drunk to drive, so he asked Dupler to drive instead. In 2018, police announced the charges against the suspect, saying they believed he was the one driving, not Dupler.

Prosecuting Attorney Kent Eastwood says the amended report reversed the conclusion as to who the driver of the vehicle was at the time of the crash due to additional evidence obtained and reviewed since May of 2018.

"The new reconstruction report concluded that it was more likely than not that Dupler was the driver of the vehicle," a statement from Eastwood said. "Additionally, the Prosecutor’s Office hired a private expert to review the evidence and provide testimony at an upcoming trial. The private expert concluded, based upon the known evidence at this time, that it is more likely than not that Dupler was the driver of the vehicle."

A motion to dismiss the charges was filed on August 27.

"Due to recent developments, the State does not believe it has probable cause to proceed at this time," the motion read. "The State intends to continue to work with Law Enforcement to figure out if it can be determined with certainty who was operating the vehicle in this matter."