Former recovery leader sentenced in fatal DUI crash

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Lisa Trigg, The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.
·2 min read
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Apr. 20—The former director of House of Hope recovery community in Brazil received a 14.5-year prison sentence Monday after pleading guilty in connection with a 2019 crash that killed a California truck driver.

During a hearing in Putnam Superior Court, 42-year-old Brian Paul Rosano pleaded guilty to two felony charges: leaving the scene of a property-damage crash after causing death while under the influence, and causing death while driving a motor vehicle under the influence of a Schedule I or II substance.

The plea agreement dropped the charges of reckless homicide and unlawful possession of a syringe.

During the hearing, Rosano admitted he had driven to Indianapolis to buy and use heroin on the day of the crash. He testified that he relapsed after a 2016 surgery when he was given pain medication.

While driving back to Brazil on Interstate 70 on July 1, 2019, Rosano's van struck 66-year-old Freddie Smith, who was standing near his malfunctioning semi while a repair crew was working on the rig. Smith died at the scene.

Rosano continued driving down the highway, police said. Another motorist who witnessed the van hit Smith testified he forced his vehicle in front of Rosano's van to get the impaired driver to stop. Indiana State Police arrested Rosano, who failed field sobriety and chemical tests.

Putnam County Prosecutor Timothy Bookwalter said the maximum sentence Rosano faced was 16 years, but the plea agreement capped the sentence at 14.5 years.

Judge Denny Bridges executed the 14.5 year sentence with substance abuse treatment in prison.

Rosano will receive credit for the time served in Putnam County Jail.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.