‘You just can’t control how people fall’: FWPD responds after officer crashes into, critically injures pedestrian
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - A crash report independently obtained by 21Investigates has identified the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) officer who struck a pedestrian walking in downtown Fort Wayne Wednesday evening.
The crash happened around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, at the intersection of E Main and S Calhoun Streets.
The crash report says FWPD Sgt. Joshua Hartup, 46, was driving a police-issued GMC Sierra when he crashed into Henry Najdeski, 52.
A witness told responding officers he was westbound on E Main, waiting at the light when he saw Hartup waiting on S Calhoun to turn left. He says he saw a man cross the street using the crosswalk and witnessed the pick-up truck Hartup was driving hit him while turning onto E Main.
Najdeski was unconscious from a head injury when officers arrived, the report says. He was last said to be in critical condition.
Documents say Hartup did not make a statement at the time.
Under the “factors” section in the report, it lists “failure to yield right of way”.
But, documents go on to say, “Without a statement from Driver 1 or the Non-Motorist, investigators are looking for video to determine where and when the pedestrian crossed. Until it can be determined where and when the pedestrian crossed the crash cannot be completed.”
The department sent a statement to 21Alive later on Thursday, which reads as follows:
Webb stressed to 21Investigates that this “wasn’t a high-speed collision.” Webb says how the man “fell on the pavement caused the injury.”
“You just can’t control how people fall,” Webb said.
He goes on to say it was an “unfortunate accident and I know the officer feels horrible about it.” He tells us Hartup stopped to render aid to the man until paramedics arrived.
21Investigates asked why the officer didn’t give a statement on the scene, Webb says the officer will make a statement in the next day or two.
Webb contacted 21Alive after our initial report to argue his words were taken out of context. He says it made it sound like the FWPD is indifferent, which he says is not the case.
The following is Webb’s verbatim quote during his conversation with investigative reporter Karli VanCleave:
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