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Woman Guilty in Fatal Hit-And-Run of Ind. Officer


A woman who police said struck and killed a Greenfield police officer last September has reached a tentative plea deal.

Sue Ann Vanderbeck, 61, has agreed to plead guilty to failure to stop after an accident causing death. A judge will consider the deal, with sentencing set for Aug. 1.

Under terms of the agreement, Vanderbeck would serve a four-year sentence in home detention in Indianapolis and will lose her license for six months. With good behavior, her sentence could be reduced to two years.

Officer Will Phillips was struck from behind as he rode a bicycle while training with other officers on U.S. 40 near the Henry-Hancock County line.

Vanderbeck told police she was distracted by her children in the back seat of the car, including a 4-year-old boy with autism and two 15-month-old twins, and that she wasn't sure if she'd hit a person.

Officials said Monday that Vanderbeck admitted she knew she had struck a bicyclist, but she didn't want to stop. Vanderbeck said she saw two other people tending to the person who had been hit.

Phillips' family said they will accept the judge's decision on the plea deal.

"It's whatever the judge wants to do. We'll leave it up to her, if that's what she wants to do," said Phillips' mother, Shirley Phillips. "My son was for the law. He was a good, outstanding lawman."

Greenfield Police Chief John Jester said his department will follow the family's lead.

"They're the ones that lost a family member. I lost a friend. Our department lost an officer, but it's very important that the family has some closure," he said.

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