RENSSELAER — A trial date for a Terre Haute man charged with leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in a death is currently in limbo while Jasper County Circuit Court Judge John Potter rules on a motion for a change of venue in the case.
An order granting a motion for continuance in the case was provided on Jan. 8 after Joseph Bland, 44, asked his jury trial be moved to another location one week prior to the start of the trial on Jan. 14.
Bland feels he won’t get a fair trial due to public hostility and outrage over the offense. He cited posts on social media that called for “hundreds of people” to arrive the day of the trial to voice their displeasure.
Bland is charged with failing to stop after his semi drove over a car, driven by Melissa Deno, 40, at the intersection of State Road 16 and U.S. 231 on Oct. 10, 2018.
Bland surrendered to deputies at the Jasper County Detention Center on Dec. 8, 2018, then posted a $1,500 cash bond and was released. Though he must fulfill his obligations in court, he is not currently in police custody.
With the continuance, the trial for Jan. 14 was canceled indefinitely.