Bland case

JASPER COUNTY — There is still not much movement in the State of Indiana’s case against truck driver Joseph Bland.

A pretrial conference at the Jasper County Courthouse was scheduled for Tuesday, March 30. Prior to the conference, a motion of continuance by Bland and his attorney was denied by Jasper County Circuit Court Judge John Potter.

Another pretrial conference is set for Tuesday, May 18 at 9:30 a.m.

Status on a change of venue request by Bland and his attorney is unknown at this time. Potter granted a change of venue motion early in the case and Huntington’s circuit court was selected as the location. But fears of COVID-19 postponed the trial through 2020.

Huntington is expected to remain the site of a trial when it is scheduled.

Potter ruled that all pre-trial and sentencing hearings will be held in Jasper County until the case goes to trial.

Bland, of Terre Haute, is charged with failing to stop after his semi drove over a car driven by Melissa Deno, 40, of Rensselaer at the intersection of State Road 16 and U.S. 231 on Oct. 19, 2018.

Deno died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Bland, who was employed with Rosnett Semi-Trailer Sales Repair Leasing, Inc., Cooling Concepts in Terre Haute at the time, surrendered to deputies at the Jasper County Jail on Dec. 8, 2019, 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.

The Estate of Melissa Deno has filed a civil suit against Rosnett Semi-Trailer Sales and Bland in Deno’s death in Jasper County. A pretrial conference in that case will be May 3 in circuit court, with Potter presiding.

A jury trial is scheduled for June 15.

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