Tuesday, August 23, 2005

WHAT. THE. HELL.

Mother, daughter killed during fight
Car struck them during street brawl

By Raygan Swan
The Indianapolis Star


INDIANAPOLIS -- A morning street scuffle Saturday between a woman and her daughter resulted in an accidental hit-and-run that left both women dead, a security guard injured and two men confessing to driving the car, Indianapolis police said.

The incident began, police say, about 12:40 a.m. Saturday when Jan Bailey, 49, and daughter Torre Bailey, 30, were "rolling in the street," exchanging blows outside the apartment complex where they lived.

Neighbors said the women were fighting over the younger woman's ex-boyfriend.

At that point, investigators said, Tommy Whitfield, 19, of Indianapolis, turned onto the street and drove straight into the altercation.

Police said his car hit and killed the women and injured security guard Alex Murdock, 22, who had been trying to break up the fight. Murdock was reported in good condition with a broken leg following surgery at Wishard Memorial Hospital.

After the impact, police said, Whitfield at first stopped the car, then backed up.

A second security guard, Donald Thurman, apparently feared the driver was coming for him and fired at the car with his handgun, police said.

Whitfield couldn't understand why the guard was firing at him, panicked and fled, police said.

He drove to the home of his mother and stepfather.

A short time later, Joseph Hatton, Whitfield's stepfather, called police and told them he had been the driver, even though police later said he had actually been at home all night drinking alone.

Police arrested Hatton, 44, on preliminary charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident and driving under the influence causing death, said Sgt. Steve Staletovich.

But a devastated Whitfield refused to let his stepfather take the fall, Staletovich said. He called investigators and offered a tearful confession to his role in the accident.

Police then withdrew the charges against Hatton -- and said they don't plan to charge Whitfield, either.

Staletovich said Marion County prosecutors will review the case today.

Jacqueline Hatton, Whitfield's mother, said he told her he couldn't stop in time to avoid the women.

"My poor son," she said. "He couldn't figure out how people got on the ground (in front of him). ... He couldn't believe he was rolling over people."

Authorities also will try to unravel one further mystery that came to light after the bodies of Jan and Torre Bailey arrived at the county morgue.

Jan Bailey had been shot in the head, they found, although the car's impact was severe enough to kill her.

Investigators say the gun carried by the injured security guard might have discharged when he was hit by the car.



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