Teen faces reckless homicide charge for crash that killed 73-year-old man

photo of Liam Burke
Photo of Liam Burke provided by the Allen County Sheriff's Department.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A 17-year-old is facing reckless homicide and criminal recklessness charges as the result of an investigation into a two-vehicle crash earlier this year that took the life of a man who was turning into a driveway.

Investigators determined that Liam Burke was driving a Mustang GT at 90 miles an hour just moments before he hit a Scion XB driven by Fred W. Neuls on May 12 on Ernst Road in southwest Allen County according to information contained in the probable cause affidavit.

Burke was driving east on Ernst and Neuls was headed west and in the process of turning left into a driveway when the crash took place. Neuls, 73, died several days later from severe injuries to the head and chest.

Photo shows the stretch of Ernst Road where the crash on May 12, 2017 occurred.

An investigator with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department analyzed the data recorder from Burke’s Mustang which showed that 1.5 seconds before impact the car was traveling at 90 miles an hour. A half second later he applied the brakes and at impact the Mustang was traveling just over 70 miles an hour.

The investigator confirmed the data by recreating the crash scene with a comparable Scion and Mustang.

At the scene Burke told police he was only doing 45 miles an hour in the 40 mile an hour zone. Based on data from the recorder and the crash recreation, it was determined that Neuls would have been able to safely turn into the driveway if Burke had been going 45 miles an hour.

In the probable cause affidavit the investigating officer wrote,”When the Defendant caused the crash, he was operating the Ford Mustang in a manner that fits the legal definition of a deadly weapon.”