Passenger in SUV that struck, killed ISP Trooper Smith pleads guilty to resisting police

The Missouri 19-year-old accused of riding in a stolen vehicle that struck and killed a local Indiana State Police trooper during a pursuit last summer has pleaded guilty to resisting law enforcement.

Demareon L. Curry, of Sikeston, Missouri, pled guilty Monday to resisting law enforcement, a Level 6 felony, before Hendricks Circuit Court Judge Daniel F. Zielinksi. A charge of auto theft as a Level 6 felony will be dismissed as part of the plea agreement with the Hendricks County Prosecutor’s Office.

Curry was the passenger in the SUV that fatally struck Trooper Aaron N. Smith, 33, of Franklin, on June 28, 2023, during a police pursuit on Ronald Reagan Parkway in Hendricks County. His sentence will be decided during a hearing at 9 a.m. June 17, according to court documents.

The driver of the SUV, Eddie Pernell Jones, 19, also of Sikeston, is charged with murder, resisting law enforcement and auto theft in connection with Smith’s death. A jury trial for Jones is set to begin Oct. 15, online court records say.

Smith was fatally struck during the pursuit after Jones reportedly veered into him while he was deploying stop sticks, according to court documents. The car was reported stolen days earlier.


Jones, Curry and a 15-year-old girl were at Jones’ mother’s home in Sikeston, Missouri, in the days leading up to the incident. When Jones’ mother fell asleep, he allegedly took her keys and left in her SUV with Curry and the girl, according to court documents.

When Jones’ mother called about her car being gone, the three decided to go to St. Louis, where they slept in the car for a few days. Jones worked for a food delivery app to make money before deciding to travel to meet a friend of Curry’s in Bloomington, the affidavit shows.

They then went to Indianapolis, arriving on June 26, 2023, and stayed in the parking lot of a hotel. At this point, the SUV had been reported stolen.

State troopers first found the SUV at a gas station on the 4000 block of Kentucky Ave. in Indianapolis after receiving a FLOCK camera notification. A trooper ordered the occupants to place their hands out of the window of the car, according to court documents.

The occupants initially complied, but as the trooper was waiting for backup, the SUV backed into the trooper’s car before feeling the scene. It also struck another car in the parking lot, court documents say.

Jones later told police that he initially wanted to surrender, but Curry allegedly told him to flee. He allegedly said he then gave into “peer pressure” and decided to flee police, court documents show.

Police also say Jones said he was trying to get to the interstate because Curry reportedly believed troopers would stop the pursuit at that point.

The SUV first went south on Kentucky Avenue before turning onto northbound Ronald Reagan Parkway and crossing over into Hendricks County. Eventually, the SUV did a U-turn and began to head south on the parkway, according to court documents.

At this point, Smith, a five-year ISP veteran, positioned his patrol car on the ramp from the parkway to Interstate 70 westbound. He tried to de-escalate the pursuit by deploying stop sticks on the vehicle, which was traveling at a high rate of speed.

However, the vehicle veered right, striking Smith and launching him into the air. He was pushed off the road and came to a rest at the bottom of a nearby embankment. The stolen SUV also went down the embankment, court documents say.

Emergency medical aid was rendered to Smith at the scene. He was rushed to Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, where he died.

Jones later told police his glasses had slid off his face during the u-turn, impairing his vision. Curry then allegedly gave him directions on where to go, according to court documents.

Prosecutors say Jones said that he saw Smith from about 100 yards away and applied his brakes, but he lost control and struck Smith.

Reviews of both dash cam and traffic camera footage show that before striking Smith, the SUV was originally in the far left lane of Ronald Reagan Parkway with no obstacles in its path. Smith is seen moving from the far right emergency lane to the right turn lane of southbound Ronald Reagan Parkway with stop sticks in his hand. There were “almost two complete lanes” of travel separating Smith and the SUV at this time, court documents show.

At the moment Smith throws stop sticks in the SUV’s path, it veers to the right toward Smith, crossing multiple lanes of traffic and striking him, court documents show.