By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Nappanee man will serve 10 years in prison after operating a vehicle while under the influence, resulting in a serious vehicle accident and the death of a Warsaw man.
Glenn Dale Chupp, 22, 8400 N. CR 900W, Nappanee, was charged with causing death when operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance in the body, a level 4 felony. Two criminal recklessness charges were dismissed as part of his plea agreement. Chupp was also charged with battery against a public safety official, a level 6 felony, in a second case.
Chupp was sentenced in Kosciusko Superior Court 3 on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
On Aug. 4, 2019, Chupp was operating a 1997 Pontiac Firebird on East Pierceton Road in the area of CR 600E. Chupp told officers he was passing a car while traveling east and admitted to traveling between 130 and 135 miles per hour. While passing the vehicle, Chupp’s vehicle struck a motorcycle operated by Edward J. Frost, 51, Warsaw.
Frost was severely injured and taken to Fort Wayne Lutheran Hospital with multiple skull fractures and a broken leg. He later died from his injuries on Aug. 13, 2019.
Chupp told police he had smoked synthetic marijuana about three hours before the accident. Police also said Chupp was out on pre-trial release and on bond in multiple drug and operating while intoxicated cases in Kosciusko County.
On Sept. 16, 2019, a Kosciusko County Sheriff’s officer was working in the jail when he discovered Chupp had used toilet paper to obstruct the view of his cell’s camera. He removed the toilet paper after being told to do so three times.
Shortly afterward, Chupp started kicking his cell door throughout most of the morning. Two officers went to Chupp’s cell and told him to stop kicking and hitting the door. As the cell door was opened, Chupp punched one of the officers in the face.
The officers gained control of Chupp as he continued to fight and resist. While attempting to place Chupp in a restraint chair, Chupp punched the officer in the face again.
During court proceedings, Frost’s wife and sister gave emotional testimony on who Frost was as a person and how Chupp’s actions have changed their family’s lives.
“You decided my brother’s life was worth less than your own,” said Margaret Bergey, Frost’s sister. “You had no remorse as you hit him and left him on the road. He will always be loved by many. He was my go-to person that I turned to for guidance and comfort…our memories now include him being left on the side of the road. I am still filled with so much hate and anger and will never forget your selfishness. We stood by his bedside for nine days praying he would get better…see what you’ve done to your life and others?”
Angela Frost, Edward’s wife, asked Chupp how he wasn’t aware he hit a motorcyclist and mentioned Chupp’s criminal history.
“When are you going to stop ripping families apart?” said Angela. “My husband was everything to me and you ripped him apart. I just die inside every day. You ripped him away from me like he was a piece of trash.”
Chupp’s sister, Regina Gingerich, testified on behalf of Chupp’s family. In her testimony, Gingerich discussed coordinating with Chupp while he was incarcerated to hold a chicken fundraiser, with the proceeds going toward a GoFundMe established for Frost after the accident. The fundraiser raised over $3,000.
“My family is very, very sorry for your loss,” said Gingerich to Frost’s family. “He cannot be replaced. It hurts us too and we are sorry. And Glenn is sorry too.”
Defense Attorney Seth Tipton asked what Chupp’s family has done to help him get treatment for substance abuse. Gingerich said the family would financially support him through counseling and that Chupp was enrolled into Teen Challenge by the family in 2018 to receive help. However, Gingerich said he chose to leave the program and not participate.
“I hope you can forgive me,” said Chupp to the Frost family. “I can never imagine what your family has gone through. I am deeply saddened and sorry for your loss…we were both in the wrong. We were both intoxicated.”
Tipton asked Chupp if he blamed Frost for what occurred, even if Frost was allegedly operating a vehicle under the influence. Chupp said he did not and that he didn’t have the best memory of what occurred.
“He makes his actions seem like remorse, but it’s vague remorse,” said Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz. “But some of the words he used are offensive. This was inevitable and could have been anyone.”
Voelz mentioned the speed Chupp was traveling at and that he also crossed a double yellow line while attempting to pass a vehicle. He also focused on Chupp’s criminal history. Chupp was arrested two weeks prior to the accident for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and also committed two additional crimes since Frost’s death.
“How dare he call this an accident,” said Voelz. “He burdens (the family) by saying ‘Pray for me.’ That’s the opposite of remorse. He’s rejected multiple programs, rejected safety, rejected sobriety.”
Tipton argued that Chupp was remorseful and taking responsibility for his actions by not taking the matter to jury trial and not debating restitution requests.
For causing death when operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance in the body, Kosciusko Superior Court 3 Judge Chad Miner sentenced Chupp to 10 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. Chupp will also serve two years on probation for battery against a public safety official.
Chupp will also have to pay $12,631.47 in restitution to the Frost family.
“It’s a scary thing for the public and society in general,” said Judge Miner, noting that Chupp’s actions could have affected anyone on the road that day.