TIPTON — A Sharpsville man who pleaded guilty in December to reckless homicide for his connection to a fatal crash in June 2017 was sentenced to three years in the Indiana Department of Correction on Friday.
Austin Hoback, 20, will serve one of those years on in-home detention, while the rest of the time will be suspended to supervised probation.
Due to the nature of the charge, Hoback also faces a $10,000 fine, and Tipton Circuit Court Judge Thomas Lett asked during Friday’s hearing that half of that go to the Tipton County Foundation for a fund in Eades’ name.
Hoback was initially arrested on charges of reckless homicide, a Level 5 felony, and reckless driving, a misdemeanor, after a June 27, 2017 crash that killed Sharpsville resident Jane Eades, 65.
According to police reports at the time, Hoback — then 17 — was traveling eastbound on Tipton County Road 100 North at speeds close to 90 mph when he failed to yield at a stop sign at the intersection of 100 North and 400 West.
Hoback then T-boned Eades’ vehicle, reports noted, with the impact critically injuring Eades and seriously injuring Hoback and two other passengers that were also traveling with him.
Eades was airlifted from the scene and passed away from her injuries a week later at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital.
The crash occurred just a couple miles away from Eades’ residence, and several of her relatives testified on Friday to the impact that incident has made on their family, noting that nothing has been the same since the day she died.
“Nothing will bring back my mom,” Eades’ daughter Deanna Rich told the court. “... I miss her dearly. She was ready to retire and spend the rest of her life with her husband. That was taken away from her. ... She was my rock. Without her, I feel lost.”
Eades’ granddaughter, Chellsie Brown-Parker, also spoke on Friday and told the court that losing her grandmother “rocked her world.”
“I hope you understand what you have taken from us and what you’ve done,” she said, speaking directly to Hoback. “Since that day, my world has kind of gone black.”
Earlier in the hearing, the court was also able to hear from several of Hoback’s friends and family, all testifying that the young man has continuously expressed sorrow and remorse for his role in the deadly crash.
“Austin’s a quiet kid,” Hoback’s father Sam Hoback said. “He’s kept to himself more after the accident. ... It’s brought him closer into himself. ... But he saw a counselor after the accident, and I know it [the crash] has had a profound effect on Austin physically and mentally.”
During her testimony, Austin’s stepmother Lori Hoback read a statement addressed to the Eades family and told those gathered in attendance that she wished they could turn back time.
“We are so very sorry for this new path everyone is on,” she wrote. “Our hope is your forgiveness for Austin and that he can also forgive himself.”
Austin also had an opportunity to speak to the Eades family during Friday’s sentencing.
In a written statement, Austin told the gathered crowd that he was sorry for what happened the day of the crash and that he was ready to take responsibility for his actions.
“I want to say I’m sorry for the heartache I’ve caused,” he said. “It was never my intention to take a wife from her husband or a mother from her kids. ... I hope you can forgive not me but what I’ve done.”