Indiana lawmaker's probation lowered after drunken driving plea

A court has revoked the probation of an Indiana state politician who pleaded guilty to drunken driving charges after police say he slammed his pickup truck through an interstate highway railing and fled.

Republican Rep. Jim Lucas of Seymour requested earlier this month that his probation be terminated after six months, noting in court records that he “performed very well on probation with no violations” and that “all fees and financial obligations have been satisfied.”

Lucas received a substance addiction evaluation in August and completed treatment recommendations in December, according to a letter from his probation officer, according to The (Columbus) Republic.

Lucas’ insurance company paid $3,929.62 in restitution and expenses to the court.

Indiana lawmaker's probation lowered after drunken driving plea

According to court records, MacTavish granted Lucas’ plea to lower his probation the same day the congressman filed it.

“The defendant successfully completed the special terms and conditions of probation and has paid all fees owed,” MacTavish wrote in a Dec. 11 order.

An early Friday evening phone call to Lucas’ Statehouse office went unanswered.

According to court documents, Lucas pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of driving while drunk and abandoning the scene of an accident at the intersection of Interstate 65 and Indiana 11 on May 31.

After his plea, Lucas said in a written statement to The Associated Press that he accepted “full responsibility” and apologized for his conduct.

“I plan to take time to evaluate myself, and I’m already enrolled in counseling to get the help I need,” Lucas went on to say. “I will continue to work every day to earn back the trust of my community while serving my neighbors in House District 69.”

Lucas, who was first elected to the Legislature in 2012, was allowed to keep his seat; state law only prevents people convicted of felonies from holding political office. Lucas is a vocal supporter of marijuana legalization and relaxation of state firearms regulations. He has drawn criticism for what some have dubbed racist social media posts on multiple occasions.

Indiana lawmaker's probation lowered after drunken driving plea

Officers stopped Lucas when he was walking near where they discovered the highly damaged truck, with a state legislator license plate, parked behind a Seymour carpet store roughly 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) from the crash site.

Lucas smelled of alcohol, failed a field sobriety test, and had a blood-alcohol level of 0.097% on a portable breath test device more than an hour after the crash, according to a state trooper’s affidavit filed with the criminal charges. The legal limit in the state is 0.08%.

According to police investigations, Lucas’ pickup truck had substantial front-end damage and three flat tires, two of which had worn down to the metal wheel rims.

As per the affidavit, Lucas informed a state trooper that he drove away from the crash scene to find help and parked behind the shop because he didn’t want to leave an oil leak in its front parking lot.

When asked what caused the collision, Lucas replied, “I thought I saw a deer, how’s that?”

According to the police affidavit, the congressman swerved to avoid the animal, losing control of his vehicle, which went off Indiana 11, down a slope at the intersection with I-65, through a railing, and across traffic lanes to hit the median guardrail.

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