News and Tribune

May 7, 2012

Man charged with additional count for 2011 deadly wreck

Wesley Bradshaw now faces class B felony in Hammersmith’s death

By TARA SCHMELZ
tara.schmelz@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — The man accused of causing the car accident that killed 51-year-old Kevin Hammersmith has been charged with a new felony.

Wesley S. Bradshaw, 31, of Danville, was charged Monday with causing death when operating a vehicle with a schedule I or II controlled substance or its metabolite, a class B felony, carrying with it a potential sentence of six to 20 years in prison.

According to court records, the toxicology report showed that Bradshaw had marijuana, oxycodone and oxymorphone in his system at the time of the wreck Nov. 19 on Ind. 111, just south of Budd Road in New Albany. Police said previously that Bradshaw crossed the center line and hit Hammersmith’s car. Hammersmith was taken to Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services, where he later died. The passenger in Hammersmith’s car was treated for minor injuries. Bradshaw refused medical treatment.

Previously, Bradshaw had been charged with causing death when operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a class C felony, which carries a potential sentence of two to eight years. He still faces that charge.

Prosecutor Abraham Navarro is also seeking a charge of habitual substance offender, which would add a minimum of three years and a maximum of eight years, if convicted, to his sentence, according to Judge Susan Orth, who read the potential sentence to Bradshaw in court Thursday. That amended charge is under advisement of the judge, who will decide whether the prosecutor can go forward with pursing it.

Navarro is alleging that Bradshaw has seven other substance offense convictions in Kentucky. Three of the convictions were for possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, which was committed April 27, 2010. Two felonies happened on April 27, 2007: obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and possession of a prescription blank. Bradshaw was also convicted of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, which was committed June 14, 2007, and attempt to traffic in a controlled substance, which was committed Sept. 13, 2004.

To be charged as a habitual substance offender, the prosecution needs to prove that Bradshaw has been convicted in two or more prior unrelated substance offenses. Eric Weitzel, Bradshaw’s attorney, argued in court that the three crimes that happened April 27, 2010, count as one strike, since they happened on the same day and can’t be unrelated to one another. He said the others do not qualify.

Weitzel said the fraud and prescription pad convictions do not count as abuse, use or manufacturing a controlled substance, something he said is required to be used as a conviction for the habitual substance offender charge. He said the attempt to traffic charge should not count since it was an attempt, not a trafficking charge.

The trial is scheduled for August. It was pushed out from its May date to allow the defense to prepare for the additional charge.

Hammersmith was driving home from the Indiana University Chancellor’s Medallion Dinner when he was killed. He was a regional manager for Duke Energy Indiana and member of the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Board. He previously served as chairman of the executive board at One Southern Indiana and president of the Harvest Homecoming board.