A New Haven man faces charges of reckless homicide and attempted murder in connection with a shooting at a local bar parking lot and a subsequent high-speed crash that killed a teenage girl.
Jeremy D. Washington, 35, was formally charged Thursday in Allen Superior Court with three counts of attempted murder and one count each of aggravated battery, reckless homicide, operating while intoxicated causing death and operating while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury as a result of what started as an argument at a bar.
According to court documents, Washington was at the Corner Pocket Pub in Fort Wayne when he and others at the bar got into an argument and were told to leave by employees shortly before midnight.
Washington and two friends headed to his car, which blocked in the SUV with the three other people involved in the argument inside the bar.
When the people in the SUV tried to leave, the driver and Washington continued to argue until he pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and shot at the SUV several times, according to police.
One of those rounds hit Chad Jackson, a passenger in the SUV, in the neck, narrowly missing his arteries.
Police said Washington took off down St. Joe Road at high speed with the victims in the SUV behind him as they rushed to get their wounded friend to a hospital.
Washington told police he may have shot at the SUV again shortly before the crash and fired enough shots during the ordeal that he needed to change magazines while driving, according to the affidavit.
When Washington got to the intersection of Stellhorn and Hobson roads, he ran a red light and smashed into the driver’s side of a car driven by 17-year-old Haley Nellum, according to police.
His car struck Nellum’s with such force that her driver door was crushed beyond the center console of the car before it flipped, police said.
Her mother, Laura Nellum, happened upon the crash scene but was unable to see that her daughter’s car was one of those involved.
She had the same thought any parent would at seeing such carnage.
“It was one of those things where every parent says, ‘Don’t let my child be a part of that,’ ” she said.
By 4:30 a.m., her worst fears were confirmed when she learned her daughter was killed in the crash.
“She was only three blocks from her house,” Laura Nellum said.
She said she may eventually attend Washington’s court hearings but has no plans to do so in the near future.
Laura said her daughter loved sports and enjoyed all life had to offer any 17-year-old. Haley Nellum and her sister recently helped with the Special Olympics.
A passenger in Washington’s car was knocked unconscious in the crash and had to be freed from the car by firefighters. He suffered a cut to his head and bruised lung, according to the affidavit.
Police said Washington refused to submit to a chemical test, but a blood draw showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.15 percent, nearly double the legal limit in Indiana for driving.
Washington told police he did not think he was drunk and also claimed self-defense, saying someone in the SUV from the earlier argument fired the first shots.
Police found no evidence of that in the surveillance video from the bar and no evidence in the SUV to suggest there was ever a weapon fired or even a weapon inside it, according to the report.
Washington was being held Thursday evening on bond of $170,000. A search of court records did not show any criminal convictions for him.