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Rep. Jim Lucas avoids jail time in plea deal for drunk driving arrest

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jun 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-13 12:51:16-04

JACKSON COUNTY — Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas accepted a plea deal and will serve no time in jail after he was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident last month.

Body camera footage has also been released by the Seymour Police Department showing the arrest.

The plea stems from an incident on May 31 where police found an intoxicated Lucas and a damaged vehicle near State Road 11 and Interstate 65.

According to a crash report, Seymour Police Department initially responded to a report of a vehicle that had struck the guardrail and went the wrong way on the I-65 ramp.

According to the report, when police arrived the vehicle was gone but they found the guardrail lying in the road, tire tracks in the grass, plastic vehicle debris and a trail of fluid.

Moments later, a Seymour Police officer said they found a damaged vehicle and driver behind a local carpet business, north of Seymour.

Body camera footage from Seymour Police officers shows the officers finding the damaged vehicle first.

lucas car rims.PNG

The vehicle had extensive front end damage to the grill and bumper and no tires on the front driver side or the rear passenger side, according to the police report. The rims were also worn down to the metal and a front passenger tire was blown out.


Cpl Soliday Body Cam-1

Lucas is then seen for the first time. He tells police he is just walking. When asked if he was driving a van he says no.

O: “You’re just out for a walk?”
J: “Yes”
O: “You didn’t see a van go by with no tires on it?”

J: “No van.”

O: "I mean you’ve been drinking that’s why I am asking you because we have somebody apparently driving around with no tires on a van and then we got you stumbling around out here.”
J: “I have no van”
O: “Hang tight Jim.”

In more body cam footage from Officer Huynh, Lucas puts his hands over his head and discloses to officers that he has a firearm on his hip and knife in his back pocket. "I volunteered this, be careful it has a round in the chamber," Lucas says. Officers then recover the gun and knife.


Officer Huynh Body Cam

You can hear Lucas tell police that he was "just out here walking around," and "that's all I have to say."

After an officer reads Lucas his Miranda rights, they ask if he would still like to talk. The video shows Lucas shaking his head and replying "no."

"He has been read and stated he does not want to speak with us,” the officer says.

Lucas tells officers that there is another gun in the center console of his truck with one in the chamber. "Nothing illegal just want to let you guys know," Lucas says.

“I wouldn’t expect you to do anything illegal that would be shocking,” an officer replied.

"The law is not a parameter for allegations," Lucas then says.

Lucas and one of the officers then briefly engage in small talk as Lucas sits in the grass.

Jim lucas sitting.PNG

Indiana State police then arrive to the scene and are told that Lucas's rights have been read and he does not want to talk.

An ISP officer asks for his ID. You can see Lucas struggle as he gets up to hand the officer his ID. After the officer reads the ID, he asks to talk to the Seymour officer alone. They walk off and the body camera is muted.

The video ends after the state trooper says he'll take Lucas to his car.

According to the crash report, Lucas later provided a statement to the state trooper saying he swerved to miss a deer and lost control of his vehicle. He also said he thought he could make it home, which is why he left the scene of the crash and continued to drive with three flat tires.

The preliminary investigation, according to the police report, found that Lucas was driving south on State Road 11 when he left the road, traveled down a large hill and hit the guardrail, pushing it into the right lane of I-65 north. Lucas then allegedly kept driving across all three lanes of I-65 north and struck the median guardrail. Then, after doing a U-turn and driving the wrong way on the entrance ramp, Lucas drove almost three miles before parking his truck behind the carpet business.


The responding officer said in his report that Lucas smelled of alcohol and there had been probable cause to believe he was intoxicated. He was booked in the Jackson County jail on preliminary charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.

Lucas took a plea deal on June 12.

He was sentenced 60 days in jail for OWI and 180 days for leaving the scene of an accident. Both sentences were suspended.

Lucas will serve 180 days of supervised probation if he completes the terms. If he does not, he will serve a year.

Lucas's drivers license was also suspended for 60 days and he will have to attend an alcohol and drug abuse program.

Finally, he is ordered to pay $4,000 in damages to INDOT for the damage to the guard-railing on I-65.