Unser Case May Not Proceed

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Domestic battery charges against Indy Racing League driver Al Unser Jr. may stall after the victim downplayed the attack in later police interviews, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Col. Scott Minier, a spokesman for the Marion County Sheriff's Department, said the case may not go very far thanks in part to a lack of physical evidence and the victim’s reluctance to push push the case.

“Cases go only as far as the evidence takes us,” Minier said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Obviously, our department takes reports of domestic battery and domestic violence very seriously and trust those who report it, also.”

Jena L. Soto, 38, of Albuquerque, N.M., accused Unser, 40, of hitting her after they left an Indianapolis strip club early Tuesday morning.

Soto, who said she had been dating Unser fore the last four years, initially told police the intoxicated Kelley Racing driver hit her while she was driving him. She accused him of hitting her in the face and leaving her on the side of Interstate 465 in the middle of the night.

However, in a taped statement with police late Tuesday, Soto downplayed the events, police said. Detectives said they would rely on prosecutors to decide, likely next week, if the case should move forward.

The preliminary charges against Unser are each punishable by up to a year in jail. A hearing is scheduled for July 19.

Unser, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1992 and 1994, posted a $30,000 bond on preliminary misdemeanor charges of domestic battery and domestic violence.

He has not commented publicly on the charges.

Unser is currently sixth in the IRL points standings, with three Top 5 finishes. He is expected to compete in the IROC Series race at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend.

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