Minivan driver charged after striking Indianapolis protesters

A woman who allegedly struck pedestrians with her minivan during a Monday protest on Monument Circle has been charged with felony criminal recklessness.

Diane Goebel of Indianapolis is facing a Level 6 felony charge, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears announced Friday. No one was seriously injured in the incident.

The incident occurred at about 8:30 p.m. Monday during a downtown protest. The van and pedestrians were on the south side of the circle on Meridian Street.

According to a probable cause affidavit, two people on the Circle at that time — Alexandria Grove and Alex Vaughan — told Indianapolis police officers they were struck by the van while it was moving through the crowd.

Grove told police she was thrown onto the hood of the car, then fell off when the driver braked suddenly. Vaughan said he jumped when the minivan approached him in an attempt to protect his legs and landed on the hood before rolling off.

Grove said she sustained knee and head pain, while Vaughan said he landed on his back and elbow and struck his head.

Another witness, Cliff Kerse, said there was another commotion focused on an Indianapolis Department of Public Works truck, which was surrounded by people yelling at the driver and beating on the truck. Kerse then heard a second commotion and saw people swarming the minivan as it accelerated.

According to Kerse, people were trying to bust the minivan’s windows and jump on it. He saw two people on the hood.

A fourth witness, Connor Mellencamp, suffered a hand injury but declined to give a statement.

Officers were able to view video footage of the incident, which showed the minivan stopped in traffic for about one minute before trying to go around the pedestrians. As the van moves slowly forward, pedestrians move toward it, and one jumps on the hood.

A second video shows the minivan trying to move through a gap in the pedestrians before two people walk in front of it. The van stops, then starts moving slowly again, pushing the people.

“The crowd of pedestrians continues to grow as more notice the incident. The vehicle in front of the minivan pulls forward and to the left to get out of the way,” the probable cause affidavit continues. “The converging pedestrians begin to strike the front and sides of the minivan. Several pedestrians are still in front of and on the hood of the minivan as the driver of the minivan increases speed.

“The minivan stops abruptly and multiple people fall off the minivan’s hood. The minivan accelerates again before moving out of camera view.”

When officers located Goebel, she told them she was going around stopped traffic “when the vandalism started.” Her right windows were broken out, she said, while her fenders were kicked and dented. According to Goebel, three people jumped on her hood before sliding off.

“She said a girl jumped on her car and Goebel slammed on her brakes and the girl slid off,” according to the affidavit. “Goebel stated she then drove to Market Street and turned right onto Pennsylvania Street. She stopped there and called 9-1-1.”

A motion for a no-contact order was filed Friday when the case was opened in Marion Superior Court Criminal Division 10. A hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Goebel did not have a defense lawyer as of Friday afternoon, according to online court records.

The case is State of Indiana v. Diane Goebel, 49G10-2006-F6-018900.

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