Motor Vehicle Homicide Plea

Probation and fines in misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide convictions.

The Cassgram reports 24-year-old Brandon Heanue of Louisville had entered “no contest” pleas to two counts in Cass County Court. (archives 6/3/10) The prosecution recommended probation. The family of the victims supported probation.

Heanue was the driver of a pickup traveling with another pickup through South Bend on June 20th of last year. The other pickup crashed. The driver, 18-year-old Mike Matchus, and his brother, 21-year-old Kyle Matchus, both of Louisville, were killed and four others were injured, one with paralyzing injuries.

At the sentencing hearing Thursday, Cass County Court Judge John Steinheider termed it “an unspeakable, lasting tragedy for so many.” The judge said he remembers doing some questionable driving in his younger days such as the “cat and mouse” game Heanue and Matchus were involved in that night. “I probably was a gnat’s eyelash away from something like this.”

John Matchus, the father of Mike and Kyle, was in the courtroom. “It was a bad accident,” he said, and later agreed with a comment by the judge that both drivers were probably at fault—“Yes, it was 50-50.”

Steinheider called attention to previous speeding tickets on Heanue’s record. Speeding “voluntarily shows some disregard for the law” and increases the chances for an accident. The judge said he wants Heanue to always remember that.

Heanue has been involved with the fund raisers for the accident victims. “That shows remorse and commitment to making certain things right,” said Steinheider.

The probation term is 24 months.

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