OSCEOLA — A 24-year-old woman was killed during a drunk driving accident in Osceola, and the man behind the wheel tried to run from police, according to information from St. Joseph County court documents.
Amanda Ezra, a mother of three, was pronounced dead at the scene in the 300 block of Chestnut Street around 4:40 a.m. Sunday, June 15.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed Monday June 16, in St. Joseph Superior Court, police arrived at the scene and found Ezra lying in the grass next to her minivan. Two other passengers of the vehicle were with her and told police that two more people had been in the vehicle, but that they had run away before officers arrived.
The passengers said that they had been at a party at a house on Chestnut Street and left in Ezra’s minivan.
The van was going down a cul-de-sac when the driver, 23-year-old Kyle T. Papa, realized they had gone the wrong way.
He tried to turn the minivan around but instead overshot the curb in the cul-de-sac and drove into the grass.
At the same time, Ezra was sitting in the lap of the front seat passenger with her head out the window, vomiting.
Papa drove between a utility pole and the guide wire supporting the pole and Ezra’s head struck the wire, then struck the side of the minivan. The report states the window on the van’s sliding door shattered when Ezra’s head hit it.
The documents report that the front-seat passenger yelled that Ezra was hurt and told Papa to stop, and he pulled over after driving about one block.
One of the passengers told police he could not open the minivan’s sliding door, so he crawled out the broken window and called 911.
While the passenger was on the phone, Papa and the other passenger from the back seat left the scene.
A police officer later found Papa and the passenger getting into a minivan at a Phillips 66 gas station on Lincolnway East.
After investigation, police determined was Papa under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, and they found a bag of marijuana in his pocket.
Papa was charged with the following, according to a news release from the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office:
- Leaving the scene of an accident after operating while intoxicated, a Class B felony
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in the death of another person, a Class C felony
- Possession of marijuana with a prior conviction, a Class D felony
- Possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor
- Never being licensed, a Class C misdemeanor
A benefit fund has been set up to help cover Ezra’s funeral expenses, according to a report from the Elkhart Truth’s new partner, WNDU.com. Donations to the Amanda Ezra Benefit Fund can be made at any 1st Source Bank or CommunityWide Federal Credit Union branch.