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November 3, 2012

Quadruple reckless homicide suspect returned to Floyd County

Yellow Cab driver makes initial appearance in Floyd County Court

NEW ALBANY — A Yellow Cab driver charged with four counts reckless homicide following a fatal collision on Ind. 111 Sunday night appeared for his initial hearing in Floyd County Superior Court No.1 Friday.

Charles M. Barlow, 32, of Louisville, was extradited from Louisville Metro Department of Corrections and booked into Floyd County Jail about 8:45 a.m. Friday.

Barlow stepped into the courtroom wearing Floyd County Jail-issued orange and plastic sandals. A thick leather belt wrapped around his waist held the shackles around his wrists in place.

The hearing came to order as Barlow stood alone at a microphone several feet in front of presiding Superior Court Judge Susan Orth.

As Orth notified Barlow of his charges, Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson and chief deputy prosecutor Steven Owen sat nearby.

Orth asked Barlow if he had an attorney to represent him, to which he responded, “Not that I know of.”

When asked if his family is going to retain representation on his behalf, Barlow replied, “Honestly, I don’t know.”

Orth then said she would have a public defender designated as his council for the subsequent court proceedings.

Before the hearing was over, Barlow asked Orth if his bond of $500,000 could be reduced.

Orth responded, “Not today,” and said his future representation could make the request at a later date.

Barlow is facing four C felonies, which, if found guilty, could put him behind bars for 32 years.

He is charged in the death of Thomas Stinson Jr., 60, Michael Roby, 31, Tara Hirsekorn, 39, and Laura Weigand, 23, all of Louisville.

Stinson was the sole passenger in a Cadillac that was struck by a Yellow Cab taxi being driven by Barlow.

Roby, Hirsekorn and Weigland were all riding in the taxi, which, authorities reported, erupted in flames after the collision.

Barlow is the only person involved in the accident to survive.

He was taken to University of Louisville Hospital following the collision, and was later released before he was taken into custody Tuesday by U.S. Marshals in Louisville, at the request of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office.

He appeared in Jefferson County court Wednesday and was held in LMDC before extradited.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Barlow was driving the taxi cab in excess of 80 mph before losing control of the vehicle, and striking the Cadillac.

The taxi hit a guard rail after the collision, and the vehicle became engulfed in flames.

Officials previously stated that the passengers inthe cab were burnt beyond recognition.

Officials have also stated that Barlow was operating the Yellow Cab taxi while off duty, and that the four occupants were known to one another.

Investigators spoke with Barlow while he was being treated at the hospital, at which time he said he consumed alcohol prior to the collision.

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson said earlier in the week that blood taken from Barlow after the accident is being examined by the Indiana State Department of Toxicology.

Henderson said it could take several weeks before the results of the toxicology report are made available.

Barlow is expected to return for a hearing in Floyd County Superior Court No. 1 Dec. 18.

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