GreeneStreets. Feature photo of a back country road in Greene County, Indiana. Courtesy of Nick Schneider.

Ramirez Arrest: Accused of driving drunk, causing crash that took the life of Jeremiah Murphy

Raul Ramirez

Raul Ramirez

On Friday, May 18, Jeremiah Murphy lost his life in a horrific crash involving two vehicles in eastern Greene County. Murphy’s two passengers, including his young child, were very seriously injured. On Monday afternoon, a warrant was issued for the other driver, also injured, who is accused of driving drunk without a valid driver’s license in a stolen vehicle, crossing the center line and causing the crash. He was taken into custody and booked in to jail early Monday evening.

Raul Ramirez, 51 at the time of the crash, now 52, with a home address on East Blue Sky North, Springville, is facing five felonies and one misdemeanor.

The crash has been under an ongoing investigation by Detective James O’Malley of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.

The crash occurred around 9:30 p.m. near the address of 58 North State Road 45 at Carmichael Road, in rural Bloomfield.

Jeremiah Murphy, 37, was the driver of a 2000 Mercury Mystique. Kayla Faubion, 31, and Samantha Murphy, age four, were passengers in Murphy’s vehicle.

Ramirez was the driver of a 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora which was registered to his ex-wife, who had left her vehicle at his house for him to install a thermostat. She contacted the sheriff’s department to report the vehicle as stolen and said Ramirez did not have permission to drive it. O’Malley reported that Ramirez confirmed her story and admitted he took it without permission.

A records check showed Ramirez did not have a valid driver’s license – it was suspended and he knew it. And, Ramirez had a prior conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person.

Two probable cause documents prepared by Det. O’Malley point to substantial evidence and witness testimony to support the criminal charges filed against Ramirez.

Ramirez was employed by a construction company and O’Malley called to verify the hours Ramirez worked on the day of the crash. A supervisor said Ramirez was scheduled to work a 12-hour shift that ended at 7 p.m. but Ramirez only worked 10 hours and left at 5 p.m.

The owner of a tavern in Ellettsville said his employees were familiar with Ramirez and a bartender recalled Ramirez was there around 7:30 p.m. and drank a couple of beers.

A search warrant was granted for the vehicle Ramirez was driving and when executed, O’Malley reported deputies found a cooler with unopened Coke, Budweiser, Wild Turkey whiskey and Gatorade. They also found an empty bottle of Budweiser and assorted prescription medication bottles, all prescribed to Ramirez, one containing a cyclobenzaprine medication with a warning that it causes drowsiness. O’Malley wrote that in an interview, Ramirez, who said he takes prescribed Xanax and hydrocodone, said he didn’t take any medication on the day of the crash because he was out of his medication.

According to O’Malley, Ramirez admitted drinking alcohol before the crash and said he had consumed a couple of beers and a shot of whiskey that day, around 7:30 p.m., at a friend’s house, then was driving southbound on SR 45 toward his home in East Blue Sky.

When Murphy’s passenger, Kayla Faubion, was interviewed, she explained she and Murphy were northbound on SR 45 with their daughter Samantha to go to the Dollar General Store. She said they saw the vehicle coming toward them at what she thought was a high rate of speed and Murphy commented that the vehicle was swerving in its lane. She told him to pull over then turned to check on Samantha in the back seat when the crash occurred. She remembers the noise.

Jeremiah Murphy was pronounced dead on the scene.

Kayla Faubion was transported to IU Health Bloomington Hospital with injuries that included broken ribs, broken medial scapular, broken left arm, broken T-1 and T-7 of the spine and a broken neck.

Samantha Murphy was first transported to IU Health Bloomington then airlifted to Riley Hospital in Indianapolis due to her age and the severity of her injuries which included a brain bleed and a fractured skull.

Ramirez was also injured and transported to IU Health Bloomington Hospital where he consented to a blood draw, taken at 1:22 a.m., that was sent to the Indiana Department of Toxicology for analysis. When the results came back in mid-June, they showed Ramirez had a blood-alcohol concentration equivalent to .146. The legal limit is .08.

Indiana State Police Trooper Eric Russell, a crash scene reconstructionist, was also assigned to this investigation. He concluded the crash occurred in the northbound lane, which was the lane Murphy’s vehicle was in, that Ramirez had traveled left of center, evidenced by the gouges in the pavement in the area of impact, and that the damage on both vehicles was centered on the driver’s side front.

In addition, in the execution of the search warrant on the vehicle driven by Ramirez, Trooper Russell retrieved information from the vehicle’s Event Data Recorder and reported the speed of the vehicle was 66 mph one second before the impact. He also reported the brake switch circuit was not activated - the brakes were not applied at any time during the eight seconds before and up to the moment of impact.

Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw filed a criminal case against Ramirez in Greene Circuit Court on Monday. Also on Monday, Judge Erik Allen ordered a warrant be issued for the arrest of Ramirez.

Ramirez was arrested by Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Heather Wood and booked into the Greene County Jail before 8:30 p.m. Monday with a bond set at $43,000 surety with ten percent cash allowed.

Now that he’s in custody, he will be scheduled into court for an initial hearing when he will be formally charged with:

  • Operating a vehicle causing a death while intoxicated with an alcohol concentration equivalent to .15 or more, a Level 4 felony,
  • Operating a vehicle causing a death while intoxicated with an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least .08 or more with a previous conviction of operating a vehicle while intoxicated within the 10 previous years, a Level 4 felony,
  • Two counts of operating a vehicle causing serious bodily injury while intoxicated with an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least .08 or more, both Level 6 felonies,
  • Auto theft involving theft of the entire vehicle, a Level 6 felony, and
  • Operating a vehicle while driver’s license is suspended or revoked – a knowing or intentional violation, with a prior conviction, a Class A misdemeanor.