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Police and fire

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Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
A pastor was fatally injured when his wife backed a van onto him at Community Harvest Food Bank on Thursday morning.

Mission of mercy ends in tragedy at food bank

Pastor killed when wife backs into him

– A pastor died Thursday morning after his wife accidentally ran him over with a minivan at the Community Harvest Food Bank, according to Fort Wayne police.

The Rev. James A. Haugen, 67, of Columbia City was taken to Lutheran Hospital in critical condition and died from his injuries shortly after arriving, authorities said.

Haugen’s wife, Darleen K. Haugen, 64, was backing up a minivan in the food bank loading area, and Haugen was outside the van giving her directions. The van struck him and continued in reverse, pinning him underneath, witnesses told police.

Emergency crews were called about 9:15 a.m. to the food bank at 999 E. Tillman Road, near Lafayette Street on the city’s south side. Before they showed up, food bank employees used a forklift to raise the van off Haugen, police said.

The Allen County Coroner’s Office concluded that he died from blunt-force trauma. His death, the county’s 24th traffic fatality this year, was ruled an accident, the coroner’s office said.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the accident, police said.

Haugen’s wife told The Journal Gazette that her husband was a pastor at Living Water Lutheran Church in Wolf Lake and a former pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Columbia City. They were at Community Harvest on Thursday to pick up food for a food pantry in Wolf Lake, she said.

Community Harvest closed after the accident and announced it will be closed today and will not make Farm Wagon stops. The food bank plans to reopen at 9 a.m. Saturday.

aingersoll@jg.net

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