Indianapolis man faces nightmare after name used fraudulently at crash scene

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- An Indianapolis man says the crash report filed under his name is a mistake, and it caused him to become buried in paperwork.

Adam Archer contacted CBS4 Problem Solvers to try and get some help.

"Right before Christmas, I received a phone call from State Farm telling me that I was in a wreck on December 7th," Archer said.

The agent told Archer he owed State Farm thousands of dollars. Archer, though, says he was not on a wreck December 7th. Right away, he knew something was wrong.

"I immediately thought it was Corey," Archer said.

Archer said an acquaintance, Corey Pickett, had mentioned being in a car accident in early December. When Archer confronted Pickett about it, he said that he admitted to using Adam's name at the scene.

"He told me he did have a warrant (out) and that’s why he gave my name, just because he didn’t want to go to jail," Archer said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers confirmed through court records that Pickett did have a warrant out for his arrest in December. He was later picked up and is now doing time in prison. A record in the Marion County Jail also notes that Pickett has used another name, Corey Woolvin, in previous cases.

The crash report from December 7th lists Archer as the driver, and puts him at fault.

"(The BMV) suspended my license. I have a $1,000 reinstatement fee showing on my license (and) also have three insurance companies coming after me to pay for damages," Archer said.

CBS4 took Archer's case to IMPD. The department told Archer to file a police report for identity theft, which he did, and the same day we got in touch, Sgt. Doug Heustis said he'd made a change.

"We have removed all of Mr. Archer's information from the report," Heustis said.

Heustis, who oversees the department's crash investigations, said that the police report Archer filled out showed he was serious about the allegations, and gave him a paper trail to follow. Heustis determined there was enough evidence to remove Archer's name and file an amended report with the BMV.

Still, CBS4 Problem Solvers wanted to know how Archer's name could've ended up on the report in the first place, and why the officer didn't question Pickett at the scene.

"This was a pretty busy crash, a fairly chaotic crash. You’ve got four cars at rush hour at east Washington and Southeast, a very major intersection," Heustis said.

Last year, IMPD officers filed 28,331 crash reports. That averages out to around 77 per day, and Heustis said most crashes are civil, not criminal. State law says a crash report "must contain, if possible" the name and address of each driver, along with some other information. It does not require officers to get a driver's license, and Heustis said clearing the road and ensuring everyone's safety takes priority.

"They won’t get a photo, they’ll get a very basic description of the person and their driver’s license number," Heustis said.

Heustis said that cases of mistaken identity or fraudulent identity at a crash scene like this are not common, but they do happen three or four times a year.

Archer will get his license back, though as of Wednesday it was still tied up in BMV processing. He said the resolution was a relief, since he has been suspended before, and he was about to achieve a clean record so he could get his CDL and increase his pay at work. Archer said he's been getting his life on track, and will keep doing that, even if a speed bump like this gets in the way.

"I fell very hard and I came back out on top and I just believe there’s a lot of other people that can do the same thing," Archer said. "The last four years, I've done the best I ever have in my life."

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