Alleged drunk driver in crash that killed construction worker charged

Gary Carnicom
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) – The 54-year-old man accused of causing a crash that killed a construction worker in St. Joseph County has been charged with two felonies.

Gary Carnicom is charged with causing death while driving under the influence, a Level 4 felony, and driving recklessly in a highway work zone, a Level 5 felony.

The crash, which happened on Indiana 931 between New and Osbourne roads, killed a 65-year-old construction worker who has been identified as Ernest Lewis, of Elkhart.

Carnicom drove through a barrier of traffic cones and into the worksite, hitting Lewis, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A witness reportedly told police Carnicom was in the right lane, which was clearly marked as closing, when he traveled through the barrier. He reportedly did not use the brakes until after he had collided with Lewis.

Carnicom reportedly told police that he was in the left lane, contrary to witness statements, and that a wind gust caused his vehicle to swerve into the right lane before he hit Lewis.

Police said they saw signs that Carnicom was impaired, and he reportedly admitted to officers that he had smoked methamphetamine the night before the collision. Toxicology results are pending.

If convicted of both counts, Carnicom could face as many as 18 years in prison.

The St. Joseph County Fatal Crash Team is leading the investigation.

Carnicom's initial hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.