Court docs: Zionsville man removed friend from passenger seat after crash, left him dying on ground for nearly an hour

Jack Henry Kaplan

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. – Newly released court documents reveal new details in a fatal Boone County crash in October 2016. According to a probable cause affidavit, 22-year-old Jack Henry Kaplan removed his friend, 21-year-old James Dupler, from the passenger seat of his car, dragged him to the driver’s side, and left him dying on the ground for nearly an hour before emergency crews arrived.

Additionally, court documents show numerous inconsistencies in his account of the crash.

He told investigators he was watching the Cubs game with Dupler at the Stacked Pickle on 106th Street and Michigan Road prior to the crash. While at the restaurant he said they both ate and drank an unknown quantity of beer, and they each had one shot.

Kaplan initially said he let Dupler drive from the Stacked Pickle because he was too drunk, but when investigators told him they would review surveillance video from the restaurant, he backtracked and said he drove them to a nearby Marsh where they bought alcohol. Surveillance video shows Kaplan open a bottle of bourbon in the store and pour it into Dupler’s mouth. Kaplan told police after leaving Marsh he started to drive, but then stopped and told Dupler to drive.

James Dupler

The following morning, the Marion County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy on Dupler. His cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma of the head and trunk of body.

The forensic pathologist said the injuries to the right side of his head were consistent with the damage on the passenger side of the vehicle.

The pathologist also said based on his injuries she’s confident he was left unconscious after the crash, and it was highly unlikely that based on his injuries he would have been able to get out of the vehicle on his own.

Additionally, Kaplan never actually called 911. It is estimated he was on the scene for 38 minutes before calling anyone. And the only call he made was to his dad, David Kaplan.

David told investigators when he arrived at the scene he found Dupler lying on the ground next to the driver’s side of the vehicle, and he was “gurgling.” So David said he rolled Dupler on his side to prevent him from drowning in his own vomit. Investigators estimate David was at the scene for 14 minutes before calling 911. It was another 6 minutes until emergency crews arrived. According to court documents, it’s estimated Dupler was dying on the ground for about an hour before receiving aid.

The sheriff’s office says investigators and the county’s fatal alcohol crash team tirelessly combed over all of the facts, and dug deep into the evidence to provide enough information for the prosecutor’s office to take over.

Photo from scene on night of crash

Kaplan faces the following charges:

  • Failure to Remain at the Scene of an Accident, a Level 3 Felony
  • Reckless Homicide, a Level 5 Felony
  • Failure to Remain at the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death, a Level 5 Felony
  • Causing Death When Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated, a Level 5 Felony
  • Causing Death When Operating a Motor Vehicle with an ACE of .08 or more, a Level 5 Felony
  • Obstruction of Justice, a Level 6 Felony
  • Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Endangering a Person, a Class A Misdemeanor
  • Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, a Class C Misdemeanor
  • Operating a Vehicle with an ACE of .08 or More, a Class C Misdemeanor
  • Public Intoxication, a Class B Misdemeanor

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