Indiana man pleads guilty in crash that killed his 2 kids


HARTFORD CITY, Ind. — An eastern Indiana man charged in the crash deaths of his two young children has pleaded guilty to charges that he had drugs in his system when his pickup truck was involved in last year’s fiery crash.

Robert W. Cook, 37, of Montpelier pleaded guilty Monday to two counts each of causing death when driving with a controlled substance in his system and possession of methamphetamine, and a single count of dealing in a narcotic drug, the Star Press reported.

A Blackford Circuit Court judge who will decide whether to accept Cook’s guilty pleas tentatively set his sentencing for May 3. Under Cook’s plea agreement, prosecutors would dismiss 10 other charges, including two counts of reckless homicide, he faces in the deadly October 2020 crash.

Authorities said Cook’s pickup truck was eastbound on Indiana 18 when it collided head-on with a westbound semi-tractor trailer and caught on fire. Justin Wayne Cook, 6, and Raelynn Michelle Cook, 5, died, while Cook was hospitalized for a lacerated liver and spleen, burns and other injuries.

According to court documents, blood tests showed Cook had amphetamine — a test result that can indicate meth use — and marijuana in his system at the time of the crash. Authorities reported finding meth, narcotics including hydrocodone, digital scales, drug paraphernalia and marijuana in Cook’s home.

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