The Journal Gazette
Friday, September 10, 2021 1:00 am

Driver accused of plowing into police vehicle charged

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

One Fort Wayne officer was knocked unconscious when the 2003 Ford Explorer rammed into the back end of his police car. 

Another officer investigating a bicycle fatality at Lima Road and Interstate 69 had to run for his life as the Explorer bore down on top of him, court records said.

Bradley M. Warner, 58, of Huntertown was charged Thursday with causing serious bodily injury when operating a vehicle while intoxicated, causing serious bodily injury when operating a vehicle with a Schedule I or II drug, failure to change lanes for authorized emergency vehicles and three counts of criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon. 

About 11 p.m. Jan. 18, Fort Wayne police were investigating a fatal bicycle crash and had closed down several lanes on Lima Road with lanes open for through travel, according to a probable cause affidavit. 

Officer Kyle Hartman was sitting in the driver's seat of his 2020 Ford Explorer when Warner plowed into the back of his police vehicle. Hartman was rendered unconscious with labored breathing and bleeding from the head. He suffered multiple injuries, including a cut to the right side of his head that required stitches, bruises to his right shoulder and neck and hip pain. 

In a follow-up interview, Hartman said he suffered a tear in the labrum of his right shoulder and a tear in his right carotid artery and that he could not recall the crash. 

At the scene, Officer Julian Mestre looked up after he heard the crash to see Warner's black Explorer “barreling toward him,” court documents said. “(Mestre) was forced to take off running north to avoid being struck by the black Explorer,” which narrowly missed hitting another police vehicle and headed toward Mestre, who was forced to dodge oncoming traffic. 

Detective Robert Wilcox, a crash reconstructionist, determined Warner was going, at minimum, 83 mph, more than 40 mph over the speed limit, court documents said. 

Warner was found unconscious in his stopped Explorer. The SUV smelled of alcohol and a nearly empty 40-ounce bottle of beer in a brown bag was found in his lap, documents said. 

He was transported to a hospital in serious condition and was later diagnosed with a lacerated spleen and a fractured right hip, court documents said. 

A blood draw indicated a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.14% – 0.08% is the legal limit. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was also found in his blood. 

In April, officers interviewed Warner at his home on West Gump Road. Warner said he'd left Brandy's Gentleman's Club in Fort Wayne at 10:15 p.m. where he consumed five 12-ounce beers. Driving his brother's Ford Explorer, the last thing he remembered was making a left turn onto Lima Road from Coliseum Boulevard. He believed he was asleep at the wheel. 

A warrant was issued for his arrest.

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