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DUI DEATH: Driver pleads not guilty

May 10, 2012

COLUMBIA CITY — A not guilty plea was entered into Whitley County Circuit Court Wednesday for a man involved in a fatal car crash April 29 in southern Whitley County that killed a three-year old boy.
According to officials in the court, the initial hearing for 52-year-old Mya Tha Tun of Fort Wayne, originally scheduled for Monday, was delayed until an interpreter could be located who spoke Burmese.
Once the interpreter was located, a hearing was held Wednesday and an initial plea of not guilty was entered.
Court officials said today Tun is considering private counsel, but has been assigned Public Defender Brad Voelz in the interim.
A pre-trial conference has been set for June 11 at 11 a.m.
Police say Tun was intoxicated when the vehicle he was driving slammed into a van carrying a family of six.
After initially being charged with operating while intoxicated causing death when he was booked into the Whitley County Jail, the Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office added seven more felonies two days later, including reckless homicide, three counts of criminal recklessness and three counts of operating while intoxicated, causing bodily injury.
At approximately 8 p.m. April 29, a van containing two adults and four children was rear-ended by another van at the intersection of U.S. 24 and Ind. 114, near Roanoke.
The driver, Joel Hoffman, 35, along with Christina Hoffman, 34, and her four children, were taken to a Fort Wayne hospital , where Ethan Hoffman, 3, died of blunt force trauma, according to the Allen County Coroner’s Office.
Hoffman’s van was stopped at a red light in the westbound lane of U.S. 24 when police say the van driven by Tun rear-ended the vehicle.

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