Fort Wayne man charged in trail crossing death

Jermaine Freeman
Jermaine Freeman(Staff)
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 2:47 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - A Fort Wayne man has been charged with reckless homicide in the death of Leisa Elser-Patrick in September 2021.

A probable cause states that on September 16, around 6:30 p.m., Elser-Patrick was in the crosswalk of the road for the Pufferbelly trail, at the intersection of Carroll Road, when she was struck by a car that had gone around another vehicle was stopped at the crosswalk to allow Elser-Patrick to cross.

According to the probable cause, the car, driven by Jermaine Freeman, 23, illegally crossed a double yellow line marking, in the middle of a marked crosswalk with flashing yellow lights, in the opposite lane of travel. Freeman hit Elser-Patrick, killing her. The documents say that because the car Freeman was driving was traveling illegally in the oncoming lane, Elser-Patrick would have had no reason to expect traffic coming from that direction. The documents say that Elser-Patrick’s injuries were consistent with evidence that Freeman did not use his brakes before hitting her.

The driver of the car that had stopped at the crosswalk told investigators that Elser-Patrick was struck when she was almost to the middle of the crosswalk. Elser-Patrick hit Freeman’s windshield and was thrown into the air, landing on the side of the road.

The probable cause goes on to say that Freeman told officers he didn’t realize it was a crosswalk and he wasn’t sure why the truck stopped so he drove around. Freeman also told officers there was a severe glare coming from the sun and it was difficult to see.

The documents say that Freeman committed a new felony invasion in Allen County while violating his probation and bond in Adams and Allen counties on a separate case.

The probable cause states that because of Freeman’s reckless indifference to oncoming traffic, people around the crosswalk, and the rules regarding lane markings and crosswalks, Elser-Patrick would not have been struck and killed.

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