Change Of Plea Hearing Moved In Warsaw Architect’s Fatal Crash

WABASH – A change of plea hearing was rescheduled Monday in Wabash Circuit Court for the man accused of causing a 2013 four–vehicle crash that killed Warsaw architect Mary Ellen Rudisel-Jordan.
Carl Burt, 64, is facing felony charges  resulting from the crash just over the Wabash County line, after police say he was speeding, driving in the wrong lane and high on drugs when the crash occurred.
A chemical test performed on Burt after the crash showed positive results for multiple narcotics, according to charging documents.
Burt was scheduled to change his plea Monday, but the hearing was continued for another week.
Alan Zimmerman, Burt’s lawyer, asked  for the court to move the change of plea hearing to Monday in order for the deputy prosecutor assigned to the case to return from a trip.
The state made no objection.
The change of plea hearing was reset for 1 p.m. Jan. 30 in Wabash Circuit Court.
Court records show a history of dangerous driving by Burt prior to the 2013 crash.
According to court records, Burt has two prior convictions for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and multiple traffic violations. Information provided by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to the court states Burt’s driver’s license has been suspended 11 times since 1984.
Burt is scheduled for a jury trial Feb. 21 for felony charges of reckless homicide and driving while intoxicated, resulting in death.
Police say that on July 18, 2013, Burt was driving erratically, headed south on Ind. 15. Pleasant Township Fire Chief Adam Casper followed Burt’s vehicle, responding to multiple reports of a car driving in the wrong lane. Casper wrote he saw the car swerving, speeding and driving in the wrong lane, according to a crash report from the Wabash County Sheriff’s Department.
As Casper tried to get close enough to get Burt’s license plate number, “he jetted away at high rate of speed,” according to court records.
Casper lost sight of Burt at about the intersection of Ind. 14 and Ind. 15, after seeing what appeared to be an explosion.
Burt struck the vehicle that Rudisel-Jordan was driving, around the intersection of Ind. 15 and CR 1400N,  sending it into another car, driven by Jennifer Miller, Wabash. Rudisel–Jordan, who was 61, was pronounced dead at the scene. A fourth vehicle, driven by Kyle Royce, Selma, had to leave the roadway to avoid the crash.
Burt also was injured in the crash and was taken to the hospital unconscious. When he was recovering in the hospital, he declined to speak to police about the crash, according to court records.
Witnesses told police that Burt came “flying around them” in a no-passing zone around a crest of a hill and stayed in the wrong lane for a long time.
If no plea agreement is reached, the case will proceed to trial as scheduled.