Indiana judge reduces sentence for man who killed trucker

| 4/23/2007

An Indiana judge has drastically reduced the prison sentence for a man who killed a truck driver in 2005 by heaving a chunk of concrete off of a highway overpass.

Authorities arrested Robert “Bobby” Roberts, then 18, in April 2005 after he tossed a large piece of concrete over a bridge overpass on Interstate 70.

The 10-pound chunk of concrete crashed through the windshield of a truck driven by 44-year-old Richard Rodriguez and hit him in the chest. Rodriguez, of Crucible, PA, died two days later from injuries caused by the incident.

Roberts later pleaded guilty to overpass mischief and was sentenced in December 2005 to 10 years in prison.

The Indianapolis Star reported that on Friday, April 20, Marion Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins released Roberts to home detention for two years, after which he’ll be on probation for four years. Roberts was also ordered to serve 320 hours of community service.

Roberts was scheduled to be released from the Putnamville Correctional Facility in 2009, according to the Indiana Department of Correction Web site.

“He’s grown up in there,” Hawkins told the Star. “We’re hoping he’s a better person at the end of probation than he would have been at the end of incarceration.”

Carl Brizzi, Marion County Prosecutor, told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio that the Hawkin’s decision was like a slap on the wrist.

“The harm that occurred here was massive,” Brizzi said. “This individual lost his life, and nothing’s changed in a year that would justify being lenient on this individual.”

– By Reed Black, staff writer

Staff Writer Charlie Morasch contributed to this report.