Sentencing hearing continues for driver in 2020 deadly, wrong-way crash

Testimony showed Barefoot did not attempt to slow down before the March 2020 wrong-way collision that claimed the lives of two adults, a child and an unborn child.

FLOYD COUNTY, Ind. — Friday was the second day of a sentencing hearing for Taylor Barefoot. The day was spent listening to Barefoot’s family, therapists, and co-workers testify about her character and who she is as a person. 

Barefoot was the driver in the wrong-way crash on March 7, 2020, that claimed several lives. Those victims were Taylor Cole 21, Leah Onstott Dunn 22, Braxton Fields, 3 and Cole’s unborn child.

During testimony, we learned an autopsy found that Cole had just passed the first trimester with her unborn child. 

Barefoot’s father, Al Wilkins, was the first on the stand. He described a woman who had worked hard throughout her life, who had made a terrible mistake. He said his daughter had not been the same mentally since the crash. 

“I don’t expect anyone to forgiver her for what she did, but I hope that one day she can forgive herself,” Wilkins said. “She’s beat herself up pretty bad about this.”

The defense later called Barefoot’s therapist and husband among others where Barefoot’s character, her remorse, and her desire to treat her alcoholism were discussed. 

During testimony, we learned on March 7, 2020, that Barefoot asked a co-worker for a ride home from the staff party.

On the first day of the hearing, the prosecution called several witnesses including EMT’s, ISP Troopers, and co-workers of Barefoot who were present at the staff party on March 7, 2020. 

ISP State Trooper Andrew Garrett, a member of the crash reconstruction team testified at the time of the impact the vehicles had a combined speed of 106 MPH. Garrett testified that evidence showed Barefoot did not attempt to slow down her vehicle, but Cole tried to avoid the collision. 

“The biggest thing for me is one second before impact, [Cole] perceived the threat and tried to avoid the collision,” he said.

Testimony showed that Barefoot’s vehicle was traveling between 52-56 mph at the time of the crash, and Cole’s vehicle was between 37-56 mph. 

Ten witnesses were called including an EMT who treated Barefoot upon arrival at the scene. Julia Stout, an EMS with New Chapel said Barefoot was not engaged at the scene.

“She was very unsteady on her feet, not really talkative, almost a blank stare,” said Stout.

Stout later testified that Barefoot had a deep laceration at the time of the crash, and was later flown to University Hospital.

When Floyd County Prosecutor Chris Lane asked Trout if this scene had a profound impact on her, Trout responded by saying she was thirteen months sober due to the severity of the scene.

Last month, Barefoot entered a guilty plea for four of the seven charges she originally faced. The four include three charges of causing death when operating a motor vehicle with an ACE of .08 or more and one charge of involuntary manslaughter, killing a fetus while committing a violation –all of which are felonies.

According to toxicology reports in 2020, Barefoot’s blood alcohol content was over three times the legal limit at the time of the crash.

The others include three charges of causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

 was emotional for both sides, at one point the prosecution showed pictures from the crash and there were audible cries from the victim’s families. 

Closing statements are set for April 19th. The judge presiding over the case said that he did not want to rush his decision due to the severity of the case, and a sentencing decision is not guaranteed for that date. 

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