MICHIGAN CITY — The man accused of fleeing the scene after killing a 5-year-old Michigan City girl with his SUV last year has pleaded guilty.
Sentencing is scheduled April 30 for Marcus Scully, who faces one to six years on a level 5 felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.
His admission to the allegations Thursday in LaPorte Superior Court 1 came without a plea deal from prosecutors.
Scully, 35, of Trail Creek, told police that when the girl ran out in front of him, he didn’t stop because he panicked.
He turned himself in two days later after police released a picture of a fleeing SUV captured by a surveillance camera near the accident scene.
The SUV turned out to be identical to the gold 2012 Chevy Equinox recovered from outside his parents' home in Trail Creek, police said.
The arrest also followed a public appeal by the girl’s parents, Matthew Klewer and Gail Biela, for whoever killed their daughter to turn themselves in.
According to police, Delaney Klewer was returning June 18 to Water Tower Park with her 8-year-old sister, Sara, to retrieve her flip flops when she was struck in the 300 block of Broadway.
Her parents said Sara yelled for Delaney to get out of the street when she saw what she described as a fast-moving vehicle approaching.
During a June 20 oral probable cause hearing, Michigan City police Lt. Jeff Loniewski testified Scully said after the impact he saw a girl in his rear view mirror laying in the street and never stopped or made an attempt to call police.
"His excuse was he just panicked," Loniewski said at that hearing.
Police said there was no evidence of Scully being impaired or using a cellphone when the accident occurred.
Dave Biela, 73, of Michigan City, said his son, Jeff, was the girl’s stepfather until he and her mother divorced just prior to the accident.
"He diapered that baby. He raised her. We got pictures of her in our house," Biela said.
Biela credited Scully for coming clean despite the pain caused by the death.
"I respect him for his honesty. We need more people like that, regardless of the end result," Biela said.
Biela said his son, still feeling the loss, wore a shirt with Delaney’s picture on it during a recent trip to Michigan.
"He’s still carrying that cross as well," Biela said.
Scully has been out of jail since posting a $15,000 bond nine days after the girl’s death, according to court records.