By Meladi Brewer
GREENVILLE — “I figured she would come down the right side of the road and cut me off. I never in my mind thought she would come down the wrong side of the road and run me over,” said a witness in the jury trial of Jessica R. Walker.
More than a year after a male victim was allegedly vehicularly assaulted, a New Madison woman is being tried before a jury.
Walker, 46, of New Madison, is being tried on allegations of two counts of felonious assault, both felonies of the second degree; one count of vehicular assault, a felony of the fourth degree; and one count of failure to stop after an accident, a felony of the fifth degree. Judge Stephen A. Wolaver presided.
The offense occurred in December 2021 where the male victim claimed Walker hit him with her car before speeding off. The victim had stated he has suffered numerous medical issues as a result.
The alleged victim recalled the events in his testimony advising he had heard honking in the Butler Township lot across from his house and went to go see what the trouble was.
“At the time, I was in the house and heard somebody over in the township yard honking the horn for five minutes straight. Maybe something’s wrong, so I went over,” the alleged victim said. “I had never seen this woman before that day.”
He said Walker stopped honking her horn and driving in circles next to the motor home he had parked there in order to free up space for the decluttering he had been doing in the yard.
“She rolled her window down, and I said ‘is something wrong? Can I help ya?’, and at the time -I can’t remember exactly, but she said something about the motor home. I remember saying ‘it’s mine’, and that was when she started screaming she was a trustee, and I had no business being parked there,” the alleged victim said.
At that time, the he felt it was best to get his keys and move the motor home back into his yard. When he got the keys, he also had his wife come outside in order to watch the gate as a sharp turn would need to be made. Once the vehicle was moved, the alleged victim proceeded to cross the street to get his mail before being hit.
“I got out, walked back over across the street because I figured I would check the mail, help my wife close the gates, and be done. When I got out, I could hear her (Walker) yelling at my wife who was by the gates,” he testified. “I blocked out what she was saying and walked across the road, checked the mailbox, and took maybe about one step into the road, and I heard the gravel from her tires.”
He recalled being hit with Walker’s car, rolling off of the hood, and leaving a hand print before eventually falling to the ground. Post hit, it was advised Walker allegedly yelled at him before leaving the scene and “blowing through a stop sign.”
The State v. Walker jury trial began Monday morning as members for the community were selected for jury duty in the Darke County Common Pleas Courtroom. Beginning the trial, both the state and defense made opening statements and the jury was instructed not to take the remarks as evidence.
The State Prosecutor Drew Wood advised the jury the alleged male victim had suffered a right leg and right hand injury after the incident. It was said his leg had progressively gotten better while his hand began to worsen resulting in two surgeries so far in an attempt to regain the mobility he had previously lost. It was testified by the alleged victim the mobility in his fingers has started to come back with limited movement in his wrist, but he is incapable of completing his usual day-to-day tasks.
“I couldn’t bend them to do anything. I can’t hold anything. I can’t do anything, and at the time we were in the process of remodeling the outside of the house – you know that’s taking forever. I no longer can hold a hammer,” he testified.
The witness testified he never had any problems with his hand before the incident nor had he been medically diagnosed with any conditions prior. The defense attorney argued the victim had a history of arthritis and had not claimed his hand was an issue until an extensive period of time later, so he raised the question of if the hand injury was actually incident related.
“I never had arthritis except in my knees. I have never been to the doctor in my life for any problems with my hands,” he said.
Medical history showed the alleged victim initially going to the emergency room in December with the main focus on his right leg where bruising and a few lacerations could be seen. He advised he went to his family doctor roughly a week later to talk about his wrist that had progressively begun to cause him grief.
“It had started hurting the day I got hit and progressively got worse and worse from that day out,” he said.
He advised he had went to the doctor in early January to inquire about his wrist saying “it was hurting. It wasn’t getting any better. It was getting worse”.
Late January the alleged victim went back to the emergency room, and was told he had acute tendinitis. He shared he has undergone numerous experimental treatments for pain management to try and avoid surgery. However, due to the severity of his hand and the failure of the other treatments, he has had two surgeries with the possibility of a third in the future.
In cross-examination, defense attorney Dennis Lieberman pointed out numerous counts where the alleged victim did not remember what he had originally told police and medical staff regarding the incident: the mile per hour he believed the defendant was driving upon impact, if he and his wife had yelled at Walker while getting the mail, and if he in fact had dented her hood when he had hit it.
The witness testified Walker had to have been driving at least 30 miles per hour; however, in the medical records the day of, he had stated she was driving 15.
“Do you see under history of present illness: injury happened today, occurred on the street, patient was hit by a car along the right lateral aspect of the knee, patient was walking in the street and a car hit him at less than 15 miles per hour,” Lieberman said. “Now that history had to have come from you.”
“Did you see where the doctor also put down the wrong date of mine?” the witness asked in retaliation.
The alleged victim claimed that just because the doctor wrote something down, it does not mean that was what he told them. Previously in his testimony, the state prosecutor pointed out a medical document depicting the victim’s surgery date to be July, 5, 2018 in one part of the report and May 3, 2022 in another.
The witness clarified to the court he was not saying the medical staff was lying in the report, but the staff wrote down the wrong mileage.
“I’m saying there is no way I flew over her hood with her only doing 15 miles per hour, and there is no way that I dented her hood at only 15 miles per hour,” he said. “I’m saying I did not say that.”
Images of the car’s hood were shown as evidence in the court. A hand print could be seen on the passenger side of the hood. It was determined, the hand print could not be identified as the victim’s from the image, nor could the alleged victim fully recollect where his hand hit the car.
When the witness was asked if he was able to see a noticeable dent on the hood, he replied he could not due to the images being too dark.
“All I know is she hit me on my right side, I rolled over, and hit the ground…I don’t know where I hit it. I was in shock,” he said.
The alleged victim advised the court on numerous occasions it was hard for him to recollect all the small details, as the incident had happened almost a year and a half ago. He did remember he was never angry with Walker for telling him to move his motor home, and he never expected her to hit him with her car.
“I thought it was over when I moved the motor home,” he said.
To contact Daily Advocate reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].