GREENE COUNTY, Ind. – A man arrested in connection with a drunk-driving crash that killed three members of southern Indiana family in 2016 learned his punishment this week.
Mason Hartke pleaded guilty to three counts of operating while intoxicated with a BAC greater than .08 causing death. Three counts of reckless homicide were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
A judge sentenced him to 15 years—5 years on each of the three counts—but suspended 4.5 years of the sentence to probation.
Hartke, from Jasper, was 19 years old when he went off the road on I-69 southbound in Greene County and struck a Newburgh family’s vehicle. The family had pulled to the side of the road after hitting a deer in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2016.
He was returning home from Indiana University after drinking with friends, according to court documents. His blood-alcohol content tested at .12 percent.
The Rinehart family was returning home from the Bands of America competition. David Rinehart, 46, Ruth Rinehart, 74 and Sophie Rinehart, 17, died as a result of the crash. Josie Rinehart, who was 18 at the time of the crash, suffered serious injuries and was transported to an area hospital. She’s the only family member to survive the crash.
Hartke turned himself in after the crash, when a warrant was issued for his arrest.
According to the Dubois County Herald, Josie Rinehart addressed the court Wednesday to deliver a message of forgiveness and hugged Hartke in court.