The underage driver of an SUV that got into an accident this past weekend in St. Joseph County and killing his 12-year-old friend could face charges.
Cory Downhour, 12, died early Saturday morning. He was a 7th grader at Greene Intermediate School. The unidentified boy driving the SUV is 14-years-old and had no permit. The crash happened in the middle of the night around 1:45 early Saturday morning on Quince Road near the town of Warren.
According to police, there were several kids hanging out at Downhour’s house. His mom went to bed and the kids decided they wanted to go for a joyride. There was a 17-year-old at the home who gave the kids the keys to his Expedition. Sgt. Matt Blank from St. Joseph County police says that both the underage driver and the 17-year-old could face charges.
"Operating without ever having a license, that is a misdemeanor in the State of Indiana,” said Blank. “If the 17-year-old did in fact allow the juveniles to take the vehicle, there is a state statute that's called permitting a violation that he would be in violation of.”
A small memorial made up of a cross, stuffed animals, and flowers marks the spot where Downhour died. Police say the boy driving the SUV lost control on dirt packed icy road and rolled into a massive ditch. Downhour died instantly. The driver and another 13-year-old girl riding in the car had some broken bones but are no longer in the hospital.
Holly Stopper visited the crash site to pay her respects. Her daughter went to school with Downhour and with the other kids involved in the accident. She says Downhour would come over to her house a lot and that he was a good kid.
"They're young. It's not their fault. I know they shouldn't have been out driving,” said Stopper. “They shouldn't have been doing what they were doing, but I guarantee they weren't doing it in a malicious way."
Police are planning on turning over their investigation reports in the next few days to the prosecutor's office to decide on charges. They are still waiting on blood test results from all the kids involved in the crash. They do not suspect alcohol was a factor but the tests will also show possible drug use. Those results are not expected for several weeks.
Funeral arrangements for Downhour are at Hanley & Sons Funeral Home at 23421 State Road 23 in South Bend. Visitation is Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. The funeral is Friday at 11a.m.