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Indianapolis man sentenced for role in 2020 crash that killed Shelby County woman

A man charged with driving under the influence and the wrong-direction on the interstate into a crash that killed a Shelby County woman has been sentenced.

 

Robert Antonio Lesure II, 39, of Indianapolis, was sentenced by Superior Court No. 1 Judge Kent Apsley to 25 years in prison on charges of Operating A Vehicle While Intoxicated Resulting In Death (Level 4 Felony) and being an Habitual Felony Offender.  The charges stem from an incident on October 30, 2020, where a Shelby County Sheriff's deputy saw a vehicle driven by Lesure going the wrong way on I-74 from the 400 North ramp (westbound in the eastbound lane). The deputy tried to get the vehicle to stop, using his red and blue lights and spotlight, while paralleling the vehicle, but was unable to cross the median due to the cables installed between the lanes.

 

The deputy witnessed Lesure pass several vehicles before striking a vehicle driven by Kassandra Jenkins, 23 of Shelbyville, head-on. Jenkins, who was on her way home from work, died in the crash despite officers pulling her from the car as it started to catch fire and performing CPR.

 

Lesure told medics that he had been drinking at the then-Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. He  was transported to Methodist Hospital, where authorities obtained a blood sample that was sent to the Department of Toxicology for testing. A few weeks later authorities0 received the results, which indicated that Lesure had a blood-alcohol content of .15%.

 

After a substantial manhunt, the U.S. Marshals located Lesure hiding out in Kentucky and arrested him on our warrant.

 

During the sentencing hearing,  Shelby County Prosecutor Brad Landwerlen placed two photos in front of the defendant. One was a picture of the victim that he killed. The other was a photo of the victim with her three children, aged 10 months to 6 years old.

 

Landwerlen says he argued that Lesure's criminal record, which included various arrests and convictions for auto theft, resisting police, burglary, and even robbery, was an aggravating factor, as well as his history of violating probation, violating community corrections, and violating work release.

 

Landwerlen says Lesure claimed that he was remorseful, but the prosecutor argued that he did not feel remorseful when he snuck out of the hospital in Indianapolis, when he fled within five hours to Kentucky, when he changed his phone number to avoid detection, or when he lied during his pre-sentence investigation interview (for instance - he claimed that he had never used any drugs except alcohol and marijuana, though in a previous pre-sentence interview for a case in Marion County, he admitted to using about an 8-ball of crack cocaine per day).

 

Landwerlen also noted that Lesure was wrong when he called the incident a "freak accident" - pointing out that when you drive a vehicle drunk the wrong direction into oncoming traffic it is not a freak accident, but a foreseeable outcome to his latest crime.

 

The prosecutor commended Deputy Abernathy for all that he did the evening of the accident - setting up for another officer to intervene (though they did not make it that far), and dealing with both the defendant and the victim, including dragging her from the car and performing CPR for an extended period of time in an attempt to save her life.  Landwerlen said Abernathy performed flawlessly in an impossible situation.

 

He also commended Detective Rod Mohr, whose investigation with the help of the U.S. Marshals finally brought Lesure into custody.

 

"These cases are incredibly sad, and nothing we can do will bring the victim back or ease the suffering of the family (particularly the children, who were told that their mommy was an angel, and never even got to kiss her goodbye), but I hope Lesure's sentence brings some closure to this painful episode of the family's lives. I also hope it serves as a warning to others that criminal decisions have criminal consequences."

 

Landwerlen was assisted in the prosecution of the case by Deputy Prosecutor Ed Zych.

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