The defense attorney for a Veedersburg man accused of covering up a 2009 hit-and-run fatality in Vigo County has asked for his client’s case to be transferred to Fountain County where the alleged obstruction of justice is to have occurred.
James R. Carrier Jr., 42, appeared in Vigo Superior Court 1 on Wednesday accompanied by his attorney, Lucas White, who also requested that Carrier’s bail of $20,000 cash be reduced to allow only 10 percent cash to be posted.
Judge Michael Eldred denied the bail reduction, but delayed a decision on the case’s transfer.
Those two requests received adamant opposition from the family of 13-year-old Nathaniel Lawson, who died after being struck by a vehicle allegedly driven by Carrier’s former stepdaughter.
“This man covered up his daughter killing my son,” Dana Lawson told Eldred at the court hearing. “He doesn’t deserve to be out of jail!”
Following the hearing, Deputy Prosecutor Carroll Smeltzer pointed out to Lawson’s family that the bail amount follows the local guidelines for a class-D felony allegation.
Smeltzer told the judge, however, that Carrier has a criminal history in Illinois that includes convictions for burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, trespassing, illegal hunting and theft.
Carrier also told Eldred that he violated his Illinois probation by cutting off his electronic monitoring device.
Carrier told Eldred he has lived in Veedersburg with his wife, son and mother-in-law for three to four years, and before that lived in Covington. The defendant also stated that he is unemployed and receives disability assistance. The defendant is divorced from Lindsay Pinegar’s mother, who lived in Rockville at the time of the accident, but who has since relocated to Tennessee.
Carrier’s alleged obstruction of justice occurred, according to a probable cause affidavit, after Lindsay Pinegar drove her damaged vehicle to her mother’s home in Rockville.
The mother then allegedly took the vehicle to Carrier in Fountain County. When police later questioned Pinegar about the damage to her vehicle, she told police she had hit a deer in Fountain County.
Because of that information, police report that the vehicle and driver were ruled out as suspects shortly after the accident.
But a recent statement of the alleged facts made by Pinegar’s mother to some co-workers in Tennessee was reported to police, prompting a re-examination of Pinegar as a suspect.
Meanwhile, Pinegar’s mother may not be prosecuted for her alleged involvement in the coverup.
Sheriff Jon Marvel told the Tribune-Star that she cooperated with his investigators to lead to the arrests in the case.
“She is a little culpable,” Marvel said, “but would the case have been solved if she hadn’t come forward?”