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Date: 12-06-2018

Case Style:

Gary A. VanVleet v. State of Indiana

Case Number: 18A-CR-784

Judge: Melissa S. May

Court: COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA

Plaintiff's Attorney: Marjorie Lawyer-Smith Deputy Attorney General

Defendant's Attorney: Andrew B. Arnett

Description:




Around 7:45 p.m. on November 20, 2016, Rosalie and Anthony Kepner went
to a bar in Franklin, Indiana, to play darts. Rosalie was not drinking alcohol
because she was the designated driver. As Rosalie waited for her turn at darts,
her attention was drawn to a man at the bar who “was loud and angry, because
the bartender wouldn’t serve him.” (Tr. Vol. 2 at 13.) That man was later
identified as VanVleet.
[3] Around 8:30 p.m., Rosalie went outside to smoke a cigarette. To avoid the
cold, she sat inside the Kepners’ truck to smoke. “About two or three puffs into
the cigarette, a truck started backing up towards [Rosalie’s truck, bumped
against her truck,] and then it made a big screech, and it kept screeching and
screeching.” (Id. at 7.) Rosalie honked her truck horn, yelled stop, and exited
her truck. The truck that had hit hers was a light-colored older Chevrolet or
GMC pickup. Rosalie confronted the truck’s driver, VanVleet, and he looked
“dumbfounded” and denied hitting her truck. (Id. at 9.) VanVleet refused to

1 Ind. Code § 9-30-10-17(a)(1).
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 18A-CR-784 | December 5, 2018 Page 3 of 5

give her his license and insurance information, so Rosalie opened the bar door
and yelled for Anthony to assist her.
[4] Anthony stepped outside, looked at the damage to the truck, and then
approached VanVleet to ask him to exchange insurance information. VanVleet
was alone, standing next to his truck. VanVleet’s speech was slurred, and he
appeared to be drunk. When VanVleet again refused to exchange information,
Rosalie returned to the bar. Anthony talked to VanVleet for about ten minutes
but returned to the bar without VanVleet’s insurance information.
[5] After investigation, the State charged VanVleet with Level 5 felony operating a
vehicle after forfeiture of license for life and Class B misdemeanor leaving the
scene of an accident.2 Prior to his bench trial, VanVleet stipulated he knew that
his license was forfeited for life. After hearing evidence, the court found
VanVleet guilty of operating a motor vehicle after forfeiture of license. The
court imposed a four-year executed sentence.
Discussion and Decision
[6] VanVleet claims the evidence is insufficient to prove he operated the truck that
struck the Kepners’ truck.
Sufficiency-of-the-evidence claims face a steep standard of review: we consider only the evidence and reasonable inferences

2 Ind. Code § 9-26-1-1.1.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 18A-CR-784 | December 5, 2018 Page 4 of 5

most favorable to the convictions, neither reweighing evidence nor reassessing witness credibility. We affirm the judgment unless no reasonable factfinder could find the defendant guilty.
Griffith v. State, 59 N.E.3d 947, 958 (Ind. 2016) (internal citations omitted). “It
is therefore not necessary that the evidence overcome every reasonable
hypothesis of innocence; rather, the evidence is sufficient if an inference
reasonably may be drawn from it to support the verdict.” Steele v. State, 42
N.E.3d 138, 144 (Ind. Ct. App. 2015).
[7] VanVleet asserts Rosalie “was the only person who identified VanVleet as the
driver of the vehicle who struck her vehicle.” (Br. of Appellant at 9.) While
Rosalie may have been the only one outside the bar when VanVleet drove the
truck into her truck, she was not the only one who identified VanVleet at trial.3
During trial, Anthony identified VanVleet as the man with whom he talked for
ten minutes outside the bar when he was trying to get insurance and
identification information. (See Tr. Vol. 2 at 35.) The Kepners’ identifications
of VanVleet were sufficient to prove his identity as the man who had committed
the charged crime. See, e.g., Steele, 42 N.E.3d at 144 (testimony of nurse, to

3 VanVleet also cites minor inconsistencies between Rosalie’s testimony and the report filed by the officer who responded to the bar that evening. However, none of those inconsistencies concerned the identity of the driver. They are instead requests for us to assess Rosalie’s credibility, which we will not do. See Mardis v. State, 72 N.E.3d 936, 938 (Ind. Ct. App. 2018) (affirming murder conviction despite inconsistency in eyewitness testimony).
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 18A-CR-784 | December 5, 2018 Page 5 of 5

whom domestic battery victim identified defendant as batterer, was sufficient to
support identification of defendant as person who committed crime.

Outcome: The evidence was sufficient to prove VanVleet committed the crime in question,
and we therefore affirm.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:

Comments:



 
 
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