WARSAW — When Vicki Simmons, Catherine Street, Milford, lent her vehicle to a friend in December, 2014, little did she know the events that would unfold surrounding it.
Simmons testified as a witness Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 16, day two of the trail of Scott Wilkins, 37, 136 N. Main St., Milford, pertaining to an accident that happened Dec. 27 2014, resulting in the death of Kami L. Ellis, 27, Nappanee.
In answer to questions by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Karin McGrath, Simmons stated officers knocked at her door, looking for Wilkins. She stated she had not seen Wilkins that day, but he was borrowing her Nissan 350Z and had texted her around 7:30 p.m. to tell her he was playing pool with friends.
The officers told Simmons there had been an accident but did not elaborate. She asked about her vehicle to which an officer responded, ‘It’s totaled.”
Simmons decided to find the tavern where Wilkins had been playing pool. She ended up at his apartment in Milford just as police were leaving.
“A neighbor whispered she had seen Scott walk across the street,” Simmons said.
She added that Wilkins’ roommate, Robert Emerick, came in shouting, “I got rid of the f*** cops.” Simmons went in and discovered Wilkins was in the shower. She said Emerick went into the bathroom, then came out.
“He said, ‘there’s blood. I can’t deal with this,’ so I said, ‘get out of the way and let me see,” Simmons said.
A former EMT, Simmons took in Wilkins’s injuries and knew he had a broken arm and swollen ankle. She said he was upset, shivering and covered in mud, with blood on his head.
“He was saying there was a deer that went out in front of him,” Simmons said. McGrath asked Simmons if she remembered saying she heard Wilkins repeat, “I f****d up, I f****d up.” She answered that she did. “(He said) ‘I messed up, I wrecked your car.’ He kept apologizing to me,” she said.
McGrath later asked if Simmons could smell marijuana on Wilkins, to which she replied that she could not.
McGrath asked why Simmons and Emerick did not call an ambulance. “You could tell that wasn’t going to happen,” Simmons said.
Simmons said that within a few minutes of her arrival, she was driving away with Wilkins.
“He kept saying, ‘I need to get out of here,'” Simmons said. McGrath asked if Wilkins was speaking to her, to which she replied, “I think he was just saying it.”
As they drove toward Warsaw, Wilkins told Simmons he could not recall how he got to his apartment.
“He remembered walking, and he would wake up and he was on the ground,” she said. She said he also told her he had tried to flag down a car, woke up later and the car was gone.
Later, in reference to previous witness testimony, Wilkins’ attorney, Mark Caruso, asked if she thought Wilkins would be able to run on his swollen ankle.
“I would’t think so,” she said.
Simmons took Wilkins to the Holiday Inn Express in Warsaw, where he told her to pay cash, not show any ID and use a fake name. After checking in, she drove Wilkins around to the back and they found the room. Hotel surveillance cameras recorded them entering the building and the video was submitted as evidence.
Once in the room, Wilkins lay down in the bed and Simmons called 911 to request an ambulance.
Officers with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department were the first to arrive. Simmons let them in and spoke with them. She said she was arrested but could not remember the exact charges.
McGrath asked if Simmons, during her time as an EMT, had ever seen a situation where adrenaline allowed a person to perform feats otherwise impossible, to which she replied she had. Caruso pointed out she had said he was coherent, then asked if she would define the state she had described as “coherent.”
After much hesitation, she answered, “yes.”
Kosicusko County Patrolman Shane Bucher was next at the witness stand.
Bucher said he was coming on duty at about 5:30 a.m. Dec. 27, and was told to go to the Milford Fire Department to pick up clothing as evidence. Bucher was then sent to the Holiday Inn, where Simmons’ Chrysler had been identified.
At the hotel, the clerk identified Simmons and told officers where the room was. Bucher and four other officers knocked on the door and Simmons let them in. They spoke with Wilkins, who was still lying on the bed. A video submitted as evidence showed Bucher questioning Wilkins about his injuries and how he got them, to which Wilkins kept replying, “I don’t remember.”
The video then showed Bucher saying, “You know why we’re here and we know why we’re here.” Wilkins then told officers he had swerved to miss a deer. They asked him if anyone was in the car with him. After a long pause, Wilkins said, “Kami.”
McGrath asked Bucher if he could smell alcohol on Wilkins, to which he responded yes. Bucher followed the ambulance to the hospital, where Wilkins refused a blood test. Bucher said he then obtained a search warrant for Wilkins’s blood.
Debra Lynn Parker performed the blood draw, however Bucher was not present by that time, as he had been asked to return to the hotel to photograph the room and Simmons’s vehicle. When Caruso asked if he knew the blood test came back clean, Bucher replied he had not been aware.
Following a short break, Parker testified that she was the one who drew Wilkins’s blood that night at KCH. She verified that all the forms had been signed but that she had to wait until the warrant was obtained before performing the blood draw. She stated Wilkins was polite and cooperative and asked about the aforementioned deer.
The trial is set to reconvene at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17.