On Sunday, January 12, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Trooper Brian Runyon responded to a single vehicle crash in Newton County.  Preliminary investigation by Trooper Runyon revealed that a black, 2012 Chevrolet Silverado, driven by Andrew Kepchar, 29, from Crown Point, IN, was traveling north on County Road 400 West near Morocco, IN.  The Silverado left the roadway and struck a utility pole.  The vehicle then rolled onto its passenger side and caught fire.  As a result of the initial impact, the power lines were knocked down at the scene which hindered first responders being able to access the vehicle.  A passenger in the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene by the Newton County Coroner’s Office.  Mr. Kepchar was taken to Franciscan Hospital of Rensselaer where he consented to a certified test (blood draw) for alcohol consumption.  The results of that blood draw are pending testing by the Indiana Department of Toxicology.  Mr. Kepchar was arrested and transported to the Newton County Jail.  He is tentatively charged with Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death- Level 5 Felony.  The crash remains under investigation by the Indiana State Police Crash Reconstruction Team. 

The Indiana State Police were assisted at the scene by the Newton County Sheriff’s Department, Newton County Coroner’s Office, Morocco Fire Department, Newton County EMS, Morocco Police Department, Village Motors, and Newton County REMC. 

The deceased has been identified as Thomas Richardson, 30 years of age, from Morocco, IN.  Notification of family has been made.

*All persons named in this release are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.  All charges mentioned are merely accusations, actual charges will be determined by the Newton County Prosecutor’s Office.