Almost one year after Tim Hemmings’ death, family says driver may not serve jail time


WARRICK COUNTY, In. (WEHT) — A family from Warrick County says they are heartbroken after learning the driver facing charges in the death of their father and husband — may not serve jail time.

Police say a driver pulled out in front of 39-year-old Timothy Hemmings last November while he was riding his Harley on Indiana 62, killing him.

Boonville Police arrested that driver, Debbie Hart of Boonville.

She is charged with causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, among other charges.

“People go to prison for less. She’s committed a crime,” said Tim’s wife Shelly through her tears. “And she took a husband, a father of five, and a son … a brother… and a friend away from a family. And we’re here left… to pick up the pieces.”

She is grappling with grief that is still just as sharp one year later after losing her husband. And now, Shelly Hemmings says she’s facing new heartbreak.

“The plea deal… he said that he wasn’t going to reject it at all, it was going to be…If I wanted to reject it, I could. But that would be me pleading my case to the judge.”

The family says they’ve learned of a possible plea deal in the case, which may mean rehabilitation, but no jail time for the driver, Debbie Hart.

“She’s a repeat offender, and the public needs to know that […] To see her go to prison won’t bring him back. And it probably won’t make things better, because he’s still a void. He’s not going to come home. But at least I know she’s not going to hurt anyone else.”

A search of public records shows Hart has faced driving while intoxicated charges at least two times before: once in 1996, and again in 2006.

“It’s just, it’s…it’s gut wrenching to know that our court system is going to…has obviously failed her. And let her get away with it.”

The family says after losing Tim, they lost nearly everything else, including the house.

“To write … a 17 page victim impact statement last night. To prepare myself for it. And then to watch my daughter proofread it to me to make sure it sounded okay… dropped her to her knees this morning.”

Larger than life, even in death, Tim is the man who brought hundreds of truckers and bikers to town in Boonville when they turned out for his final ride.

Now his family is calling on that community that he loved so much, one more time.

The next hearing in the case is November 4th at 9 a.m. at the Warrick County Courthouse. Shelly has asked that members of the community show up for support.

“I won’t accept it, I will not accept that plea deal,” she said. “I know that by him I am doing right, that he would want me to fight for this, because he knows that if it would have been me, he wouldn’t stop.”

We reached out to the Warrick County Prosecutor’s office, but have not heard back.

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