Driver sentenced to 8 years in prison for fatal head-on crash on US31

A driver who caused a fatal head on crash on US 31 in March 2018 has been sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Russell Stull was sentenced to eight years for causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with an ACE of .15 or more and 180 days for possession of marijuana.

The sentences will run concurrently at the Indiana Department of Correction, Purposeful Incarceration.

In addition, his license was suspended for 8 years.

He pleaded guilty to the charges in July 2018.

Stephen Pletcher was killed in the crash.


During the early morning hours of March 3, 2018, St. Joseph County Police were dispatched to a crash on US 31 near Shively Road.

Stull was driving a Chevy Blazer and was extricated from his vehicle.

Stephen Pletcher, who was driving a Kia Spectra, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Before the crash, several calls were made to police about a vehicle driving the wrong way on the US 31 bypass.

Police said evidence at the scene showed Stull was driving southbound in the northbound lanes of US 31, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Stull's Blazer struck Pletcher's Kia head-on.

A witness provided video to the officers of a vehicle traveling southbound in the northbound lanes, according to reports.

While investigating the crash, officers located a green leafy substance in Stull's center console. A search warrant was obtained and the substance was recovered, police said.

The substance tested positive for marijuana and weighed approximately 3 grams, according to police.

When officers went to the hospital to speak with Stull, medical personnel stated they smelled an odor of an alcoholic beverage on Stull's breath, according to the probable cause affidavit.

When officers asked Stull where he was coming from, he said "somewhere drinking," reports said.

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