Grand jury doesn't indict driver involved in fatal US 31 bus crash

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) A grand jury has decided not to indict the truck driver involved in a fatal Marshall County school bus crash.

The decision was announced at a news conference Friday afternoon. Watch the full video on our Facebook page.

“A grand jury, by and large, is an investigative body,” Marshall County Deputy Prosecutor Matt Sarber had explained in January. “Yes, they make a recommendation, they come up with a decision, but they can ask questions just like we can ask questions in these proceedings. That gives the community their impact, their voice.”

The grand jury was asked to determine whether Perry was reckless.

"In this particular case and given these circumstances, we didn't know if we had enough and that is why we needed input from the community," Sarber said.

Sarber said it's a fine line between acting recklessly and acting negligent.

"Negligence is merely where you have a duty and that duty is breached for some reason,” Sarber said. “It could be any reason. And therefore a result occurs. Damage has occurred to someone. Reckless is more…it's a higher standard. In this case, the grand jury decided that it did not fall in the scale of reckless conduct. But that difference between reckless and negligence I think cannot be over stated.”

On Dec. 5, 26-year-old Tylor Perry hit an Eastern Pulaski Schools bus on U.S. 31, killing 13-year-old Owen Abbott, an eighth grader.

A 14-year-old student was airlifted to the hospital for treatment.

The school bus had just stopped at the railroad crossing south of Michigan Road, as required by law.

A total of 38 students were on the bus at the time of the crash, in addition to three chaperones and the bus driver.

Neither Perry nor the school bus driver tested positive for the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Sarber said regardless of the grand jury's decision, there was still going to be pain.

“There’s no replacing the loss of a son,” Sarber said. “I have two sons at home and I can't fathom the loss that they're going through. Even if an indictment would've been returned that loss would've still been there.”

But Sarber said their office will continue to fight for these sensitive cases.

“What the community can take comfort in is regardless of the actions that occur within our county and the larger state that prosecutors are taking it seriously,” Sarber said.

Owen Abbott's family has already filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Perry and his employer.

For more information and to read the crash report, click here.