No jail time for driver, 64, who had THC in system in fatal crash

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The driver of a vehicle that turned into oncoming traffic along Jefferson Boulevard and caused a crash that killed his 75-year-old passenger – all while under the influence of THC – will avoid jail time.

Gary Hermes, 64, was sentenced Tuesday in Allen Superior Court to three years of probation for Reckless Homicide related to the June 22 crash on Jefferson Boulevard that killed 75-year-old Nancy Downs.

Gary Hermes

Police were called around 5 p.m. that June day to the intersection on a report of a two-vehicle crash there. When they arrived on scene, they found both vehicles heavily damaged.

In one vehicle, two people had to be pulled out by fire personnel. The front seat passenger – Downs – was unresponsive. She was taken to a hospital where she later died.

The 17-year-old driver of the other vehicle wasn’t hurt. It’s not clear if Hermes was hurt.

Witnesses told investigators Hermes attempted to make a left-hand turn onto North Glendale from Jefferson and turned directly into the path of the other vehicle.

Investigators at the time said they did not believe impairment was a factor in the crash. In a probable cause affidavit, however, investigators wrote that they found THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, in his system.

Hermes was arrested and charged with Causing Death when Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated with a Controlled Substance and Reckless Homicide. Through a plea agreement with prosecutors, the Causing Death When Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated charge was dismissed.

As part of his sentence, Hermes had his licence suspended for two years and he was ordered to pay $7,143 in restitution.