25 years for carjacker at Peru gas station

Coleman still has pending felonies in Montgomery County

Darion D. Coleman

An Indiana man was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison for a Nov. 6 carjacking in Peru, during which a woman was injured.

Darion Coleman, 30, declined an opportunity to address Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia but then talked over the judge, decrying his unfair treatment, as she delivered sentence. Displeased, Raccuglia agreed to the 25 years requested by the state. The resulting sentence is five years short of the maximum.

Defense attorney Ryan Hamer filed a notice to appeal but otherwise had no immediate comment on the 25-year prison term.

Coleman, meanwhile, has additional felony charges in Montgomery County, meaning more time may be coming. He has about 6 months credit for time served and, with for day-for-day good time, could be paroled in early to mid-2034.

Coleman had declined to testify in March, when he stood for trial on aggravated vehicular hijacking, elevated to a Class X felony because one of the passengers was a minor, then 15. He and Hamer tried to persuade a jury Coleman couldn’t be conclusively identified as the carjacker from the video retrieved at Clocktower Shell in Peru.

At trial, the driver, of El Paso, testified she was refueling the borrowed Nissan when a stranger ran up and ordered her out. While her two passengers immediately exited, she stayed put until the assailant pulled her from the driver’s seat, got behind the wheel and started the engine. She tried to stop him.

“He took off while I was holding on and I hit the ground and got run over,” she testified. She suffered lower-leg injuries in the incident.

If her testimony wasn’t enough, investigators recovered what turned out to be a pivotal piece of evidence: A traffic ticket left at the crime scene with Coleman’s name on it. He’d been pulled over 90 minutes earlier after getting clocked at 107 mph through a construction zone. Coleman apparently dropped the ticket before getting into the Nissan.

At sentencing Thursday, assistant La Salle County State’s Attorney Jeremiah Adams said he was grateful the judge agreed Coleman’s conduct warranted a lengthy sentence.

“Thankfully, that young lady wasn’t more severely injured,” Adams said. “But that’s insanely dangerous and we can’t tolerate that sort of thing.”