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February 14, 2013

Witness: Collision a ‘near miss’

Christine Lewis jury trial in second day

In the second day of the Christine Lewis jury trial, the witness traveling behind Lewis when she reportedly hit Trey McCulley said she was not sure McCulley came into contact with the vehicle.

“I thought he had made it across,” said Lisa Verbosky.

Lewis, a former Galveston city clerk, is accused of hitting 21-year-old McCulley on Sept. 2, 2011, as he was crossing Ind. 218 after a Lewis-Cass football game. The reported collision left McCulley with a broken femur in his left leg.

Lewis faces a charge of failure to stop after an accident resulting in serious bodily injury, a class D felony.

Verbosky took the stand during the trial Wednesday in Cass Superior I. Asked by her attorney, Kelly Leeman, she said she was traveling behind Lewis’s car when she saw a “human figure” dive across the road.  

“I saw the figure in the passenger side of her windshield,” Verbosky said.

She said then drove past the figure and saw a male sitting in a ditch, who “appeared fine.” Questioned by Cass County Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Gaumer, Verbosky said she thought there had been a “near miss” between the man and the car because the car did not brake and because the figure looked like it was diving.

During testimony earlier Wednesday, the doctor who operated on McCulley said his injury had been “a high-energy fracture” meaning that something had transferred energy to his leg like with a gun shot wound or vehicle crash.

When Christine Lewis’s husband, Richard Lewis, took the stand Wednesday, he said his wife did not notice damage to the car until the next morning. He then examined the car in the garage and saw a dent above the wheel on the passenger’s side.

“There was a dent approximately five inches in diameter,” said Richard Lewis, adding that it was half an inch deep.

He said there were also “two small dings” and some scuff marks.

At the time, he said his wife told him that she believed something had hit the car when she drove to Lewis-Cass the night before.

“She told me something hit the car,” Verbosky said. “She had no idea what it was.”

Gaumer questioned if his wife had heard something hit the car and Lewis said yes.

Richard Lewis, a State Farm Bureau agent himself, said he first talked with Jim Sailors, a fellow insurance agent, to ask if he needed to make a police report. Richard Lewis said though he has done accident claims before, he wanted to talk to Sailors because of his work as an Indiana State Trooper. Sailors is also a Cass County commissioner.

“Basically we didn’t know what kind of damage it was,” Richard Lewis said.

Then the police arrived and that was the first time the Lewis’s had heard about a boy being injured in a crash, Richard Lewis said.

If convicted, Christine Lewis faces a possible penalty of six months to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for the class D felony.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

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