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Prosecutors allege Decatur man tried to kill himself in ex-wife's stolen car

Prosecutors allege Decatur man tried to kill himself in ex-wife's stolen car

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DECATUR — Having just wrecked his ex-wife’s $24,000 BMW car by driving it at a high speed into a Lake Decatur guardrail, Troy J. Bright sent the woman a text saying: “I tried to die alone because I’m all I’ve got, (expletive),” prosecutors allege.

Macon County Circuit Court Judge Rodney Forbes found probable cause at a preliminary hearing Wednesday to try Bright on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, causing criminal damage in excess of $10,000, driving while revoked and domestic battery.

Bright, 48, represented by defense attorney Dave Ellison, pleaded not guilty on all counts.

 


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Prosecuting in the case, Macon County State’s Attorney Scott Rueter told the judge the domestic battery case related to a confrontation with Bright’s ex-wife at a party the evening of Christmas Eve.

Rueter, working from sworn Decatur police affidavits, said the confrontation “had turned partly physical” before the ex-wife decided to leave. She had gotten into her car and then realized she had drunk too much and was not fit to drive. Rueter said Bright had then come over and sat down next to her in the passenger seat, and the woman promptly exited the vehicle, leaving her car keys behind.

“And that was the last time she had seen the motor vehicle before an officer called her about it being wrecked on the guardrail,” the state’s attorney added.

Rueter said police had been alerted to the vehicle crash at 3 a.m. Dec. 25 at the intersection of South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and East Lake Shore Drive. Police reports from the time of the crash said Bright had admitted stealing the car and trying to kill himself with it and was arrested at HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital, where he had been taken for treatment.

His text messages were later retrieved from his former wife's cellphone by police. 

Forbes scheduled the case for a pretrial hearing Feb. 22 before fellow Judge Jeffrey Geisler. Court records show Bright is also due to appear before Geisler Feb. 25 for a pretrial hearing on unrelated charges alleging two counts of aggravated driving under the influence and one count of driving while revoked. Bright has entered not guilty pleas to all charges.

He is currently being held in the Macon County Jail with bail set $25,000, meaning he must post $2,500 to be released.


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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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