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by: Matt Adams
by: Matt Adams
INDIANAPOLIS – In the span of less than a month, a driver with a medical condition is suspected of killing two people in separate crashes.
One crash killed an Indianapolis emergency room doctor who was out for a walk on May 19. The second crash, which happened weeks later on June 9, involved multiple cars and killed a mother of four.
According to court documents, the accused driver, 55-year-old Kelli Anderson, was aware of her medical issues and had been told by doctors that she should not be behind the wheel.
She’s charged with reckless homicide and six counts of criminal recklessness in connection with the June 9 crash. She was not charged following the May 19 crash.
Prior to those fatal incidents, the investigation revealed Anderson had been involved in at least five at-fault crashes since August 2019.
Here’s what we know about the case so far.
On Aug. 3, 2019, Anderson was driving a black Saturn Outlook when she went off the road, drove into a ditch and flipped her vehicle. She told officers she was epileptic and may have suffered a seizure.
Anderson was behind the wheel of a silver 2012 GMC Acadia when she failed to stop at a stop sign on East 79th Street. The Acadia went through the intersection and crashed into a BMW, police said, sending the other driver to the hospital with a complaint of shoulder pain.
Anderson was driving a silver 2013 Acadia on Fall Creek Parkway N. Drive near East 39th Street when she rear-ended another vehicle that was also headed southbound, police said. A witness said Anderson was driving too fast and hit the back of his vehicle; police said Anderson initially told them the other vehicle had been stopped and backed up before changing her story to say the vehicles were “stopped too close.”
Police said Anderson rear-ended a vehicle on Allisonville Road. The other car spun out after the collision; the 2013 Acadia crashed into a fire hydrant. According to court documents, Anderson told police she didn’t know she was involved in a crash and “did not know she hit anyone.”
Weeks before the crash that killed the doctor, Anderson was driving a black 2017 GMC Acadia south on MLK Street when she veered off the road and hit a pole. Anderson told police a vehicle abruptly stopped in front of her and she’d gone off the road to avoid it.
Police were called to West 49th Street and North Meridian Street around 5 p.m. after a pedestrian had been struck on the sidewalk.
Police said Anderson was heading east on 49th Street when her SUV crossed into the west lane, drove over a curb on the north side of the street and then went onto the sidewalk.
The driver’s side mirror clipped a utility pole before hitting Brian Dillman, investigators said. The Acadia hit another utility pole and nearly struck another vehicle, which had stopped just before a collision.
Dillman suffered “grave” injuries during the incident and died at an area hospital. He was an ER doctor for Franciscan Health who’d cared for patients for 20 years. He was also an employee of Eli Lilly.
Dillman was simply out for a walk when Anderson’s SUV hit him. Anderson was not charged in connection with the crash.
Police were called to N. Keystone Avenue and East 52nd Street around 4:50 p.m. for a multi-vehicle crash. Officers found eight vehicles were involved; one of the drivers suffered serious injuries.
Witnesses told police Anderson was driving a Lincoln SUV and smashed into stopped vehicles. She told investigators she’d been going north and tried to avoid stopped traffic on Keystone by veering to the left and ended up hitting other vehicles.
A witness estimated Anderson was traveling between 50 and 60 mph when she went over the center line and collided with traffic stopped at a red light. The speed limit in the area is 35 mph.
Crash data collected from Anderson’s car showed she was going nearly 69 mph at impact and had not engaged the brakes. The accelerator pedal was “100% full” when the crash happened, investigators said.
Kiana Burns, 28, was driving the first vehicle Anderson struck, police said. The collision pushed her Pontiac G6 into a Toyota Corolla and a Subaru Forester. Burns was taken to the hospital in grave condition.
Her family made the difficult decision to take her off life support two days later. Her organs were donated.
Anderson was charged with a count of reckless homicide and six counts of criminal recklessness.
Anderson suffered internal injuries from the May 19 crash that killed Dillman. She told police she takes prescription medicine for seizures and may have blacked out, leading to the deadly crash. She told medical personnel she didn’t remember the crash and explained that, in February 2018, she had been diagnosed with seizures.
“She also said she has been having increasing episodes of syncope vs. seizures, with the first episode occurring January 19th, 2022, as well as two other similar episodes on April 3rd, 2022 and April 9th, 2022,” according to court documents.
Her discharge summary from May 20, 2022, showed that neurologists had told her she was “at high risk of harm to herself and/or others” and “should not drive for 6 months until cleared by a neurologist.”
“Also, no working at heights, take showers instead of tub baths, no swimming, no operating heavy machinery or lifting close to open flames,” according to court documents.
Anderson acknowledged the restrictions with “verbalized understanding.”
Immediately after the June 9 crash, Anderson was “walking around without difficulty, did not appear injured and was coherent,” police said. She told an officer she was “paying attention, but the other vehicles were just stopped.”
During a later interview with police, Anderson said she takes a pair of medications due to “severe life-threatening allergies and epilepsy.” When asked if she’d had any episodes on the day of the crash, she said, “Honestly, I blacked out, ‘cause I don’t remember what happened.”
She also told police she was “allowed to drive because nothing is wrong with her brain and her illness is all due to allergies.” She said she checks the forecast daily because her “allergies could cause her to pass out.”
A search of Bureau of Motor Vehicles records showed Anderson’s driving status was valid at the time of the various crashes.
Indianapolis Metropolitan police arrested Anderson on June 17 in connection with the June 9 crash that killed Kiana Burns.
She faces a reckless homicide charge for Burns’ death and six misdemeanor counts of criminal recklessness for posing a “substantial risk of bodily injury” to the other drivers involved in the crash.
According to court records, she is due in court for an initial hearing Tuesday.
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