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Indiana man faces more serious charges in deadly hit-and-run

January 2, 2022 GMT

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana man charged in a June hit-and-run crash that killed one teenager and injured a second faces more serious charges.

Ronnie Hapner, 35, is now charged with two felony counts of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and injury while driving while intoxicated, The Elkhart Truth reported.

The Elkhart man was initially charged with leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, and leaving an accident that caused serious injury.

Hapner was arrested days after the June 4 accident killed Blaine Fisher and seriously injured McKade Nielsen, both 18. The youths were riding a bicycle and a skateboard when they were hit by a pickup truck.

The truck fled the crash scene but Hapner was arrested days later after police received a tip.

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His jury trial is scheduled for April 18. But a judge will hold a hearing April 6 on a change of venue request for Hapner which alleges that he cannot receive a fair trial in Elkhart County.

A lawsuit filed Dec. 14 by relatives of Nielsen, and by Fisher and his parents seeks damages from Hapner as well as the bar that allegedly served him alcohol before the accident.

That suit complaint alleges Hapner had consumed “substantial quantities” of alcohol at the bar and was intoxicated when he struck the two youths.