Families say proposed plea deal isn’t justice in crash that killed 2 teens


by Adam Walser


Posted on November 7, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 7 at 10:33 PM

(WHAS11) - It was a Thanksgiving Day tragedy; two teenagers were killed when an SUV crossed the median on Interstate 71.

Nearly a year later, the driver, who police say caused the crash, is preparing to enter a plea deal and the victims' families say it is not what they want.

The defendant, Patrick Kane, was indicted on two felony charges of reckless homicide back in May.

But now it appears he will get a deal that will make those felonies go away, against the wishes of the victims' friends and families.

“We have to go see Adrian and Maddie at a gravesite. They were only 19 and 17-years-old,” said Audrey Harbin, Adrian Hightower’s older sister.

It has been nearly a year since Adrian and his girlfriend Madeline Thomas died on Thanksgiving afternoon along a wet stretch of I-71.

“Sometimes I feel like maybe if I wouldn't have invited them to Thanksgiving over at my house, they would have been somewhere else and they wouldn't ever had been on that road,” said Audrey Harbin.

But most family and friends place the blame squarely on Patrick Kane, the driver who struck the teens’ vehicle.

The police investigation filled more than 100 pages, including statements from a witness who said Kane passed her car illegally from the slow lane.

The witness also said, "without question he was full of road rage".

The victims' families say Kane, a banker in Louisville, has never suffered any consequences.

“He goes home to his family every night; we're missing ours,” said Adrian’s other sister Marchelle Habin.

Kane never was taken to jail nor had a mugshot taken.

He will likely continue to stay out of jail, thanks to a proposed deferred prosecution agreement. 

It would require him to pay a fine, do community service and,  if he stays out of trouble, the charges will go away in three years.

Kane's attorney Brian Butler says it is a fair deal, since Kane has no prior criminal record and no drugs or alcohol were involved.

“We all sat down to reach a just resolution, but absolutely not did he get any special treatment,” said Butler.

Family and friends say that is not the way it should be.

“I think there needs to be a statement made by the Commonwealth saying we don't want citizens driving recklessly, causing accidents and being able to make these kinds of arrangements to walk away from it,” said Leslie Isaacs.

We talked to Oldham County Commonwealth's Attorney Barry Moore, who said it is his policy not to talk about pending cases, since this one has not yet been resolved.

Family members plan to speak at the hearing Tuesday.