WABASH — A Warsaw man involved in a crash that killed a Warsaw architect in 2013 entered a plea of guilty, but mentally ill, at Wabash County Circuit Court today, Jan. 30.
Carl William Burt, 7194 W. Crystal Lake Road, Warsaw, pleaded guilty, but mentally ill, to count one reckless homicide, a level C felony. Per the plea deal, count two operating while intoxicated, a class A misdemeanor, and count three operating while intoxicated causing death, a level B felony, were dismissed.
Burt’s charges stem from an accident that occurred on July 18, 2013, which took the life of Warsaw architect Mary Ellen Rudisel-Jordan. He was arrested by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department Dec. 3, 2015, and held for Wabash County officials.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, around 3:03 p.m. July 18, 2013, Wabash County Sheriff’s Deputy was dispatched to the accident on SR 15, near Wabash CR 1400N. Rudisel-Jordan’s 2004 Ford Focus was in a field and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Burt was unable to give police a statement at the scene due to injuries sustained during the crash. He was transported from the scene to Parkview Regional Medical Center, Fort Wayne.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Pleasant Township Fire Chief Adam J. Casper had been behind Burt’s vehicle southbound from CR 200S in Kosciusko County before the accident occurred. Casper told police he had observed Burt’s vehicle leave the roadway and cross into the northbound lane many times prior to the crash.
Casper attempted to get close enough to get a license plate number, but Burt had “jetted” away and traveled at a high rate of speed. Casper lost visual contact with Burt’s vehicle near SR 15 and SR 14, but the vehicle was still traveling south on SR 15. Casper reported he soon saw dirt in the air and initially believed Burt had left the roadway. A short time later, he saw what appeared to be an explosion, and as he approached that area, he could see the crash scene.
A toxicology blood test revealed Burt was positive for Diazepam, Nordiazepam, Oxazepam and Temazepam. The levels, according to a toxicology analytical supervisor, would be recognized as high enough levels to be considered impaired.
During the plea hearing, when Judge Robert R. McCallen III asked if Burt was guilty of the charge against him, Burt replied, “I can’t remember,” but stated he believed the statement of the witnesses.
Burt’s lawyer Alan Zimmerman indicated that due to a head injury Burt had sustained during the crash, he was unable to recall the accident.
Judge McCallen III stated he would take the plea under advisement and complete a pre-sentencing investigation before he accepts Burt’s plea.
Burt’s sentencing hearing is set for 11 a.m. April 3, at the Wabash County Circuit Court.