Guilty plea in death of best friend

Kayla Foster

MICHIGAN CITY – A young woman accused of accidentally killing her best friend last year has pleaded guilty to reckless homicide.

Kayla M. Foster admitted in La Porte Superior Court 1 on Thursday to having been the driver of the vehicle from which 20-year-old Tiffany A. Butts was thrown, causing a fatal head injury.

Foster was charged in February with reckless homicide as a Level 5 felony, punishable by 1-6 years in the Indiana Department of Correction. However, according to the terms of the plea agreement she entered Thursday, the state is recommending that Foster be sentenced to no more than 2.5 years in exchange for pleading guilty as charged.

Judge Michael Bergerson took the agreement under advisement, neither denying nor accepting it. He canceled Foster’s Nov. 12 jury trial, and ordered a pre-sentence investigation be completed before her Dec. 5 argued sentencing hearing.

According to Michigan City Police, an eyewitness reported having seen Butts voluntarily climb atop Foster’s car, sitting upright with her legs in front of her, on Sept. 23, 2018.

They had been parked near the Coolspring Avenue side of the playground at Knapp Elementary School, and then headed south on Swasick Avenue. The witness told officers she heard Butts yell, “Go faster; go around him,” possibly in reference to a car that had been parked near them.

According to Foster, when she got to the stop sign at Earl Road, she realized her friend was no longer on top of the car.

When police responded to the 911 call, officers reportedly found Butts lying in the road, bleeding from the back of her head.

She was airlifted in critical condition to South Bend Memorial Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries on Oct. 30, 2018.

Foster was charged and arrested in February, and posted a $10,000 cash bond in April.

It will be up to the judge’s discretion whether to accept the 2.5-year recommendation from the state. If he does, it also will he his decision whether that time should be fully served in prison, or whether all or a portion of it should be served on work release, GPS monitoring or probation.

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