MICHIGAN CITY — A thrill ride that turned deadly has resulted in a felony count of reckless homicide against a 20-year-old friend of the deceased.
Kayla Foster, who was being held on $10,000 cash bond Tuesday afternoon in LaPorte County Jail, made an initial court appearance that morning on the charge nearly five months after the incident.
Foster reportedly told police she had her mother's car Sept. 23 near Swasick Avenue in Michigan City when her friend, Tiffany Butts, climbed on top of the vehicle and encouraged Foster to drive. Foster said she resisted at first but ultimately gave in and drove south along Swasick Avenue with Butts still on the roof.
After stopping at the intersection at Earl Road, Foster said she discovered Butts had fallen off and was lying in the middle of the road, according to court charging documents.
Butts was found bleeding from the back of the head and was taken to a local hospital and then airlifted to another hospital in South Bend, police said. She died Oct. 30 from the injuries, authorities said.
A resident told police she saw Butts climb on top of one of two vehicles parked on the lawn of the nearby Knapp Elementary School, according to charging documents. Butts sat upright with her legs pointing forward, and both vehicles drove south along Swasick Avenuej, the witness reported.
"She could hear the female on top of the silver vehicle yelling, 'Go faster ... Go around him,'" court documents noting the witness account state.
The witness said she feared the female was going to fall off the car, so she ran after them and watched as Butts fell off the rear of the vehicle and onto the pavement, police said. The vehicle continued a short distance before stopping, then the driver got out and attempted to provide aid to the woman who fell.
The witness said both vehicles appeared to be exceeding the 25 mph speed limit in the area, police said.
Police said Butts' family provided them with a video believed to have been taken by her and posted earlier that same day on social media that was shot while hanging outside the window of a moving car.
An autopsy determined Butts died as a result of complications from blunt force trauma to the head, police said.
LaPorte County Superior Court Judge Michael Bergerson denied a request Tuesday to reduce Foster's bond but scheduled a bond-modification hearing for Feb. 26.
Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter
Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.
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