Washington in interview: ‘I felt like my life was in danger.’

Jeremy Washington walks into the Allen Superior Court on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The second week of the Jeremy Washington trial started with the prosecution showing a video of Washington’s interview with detectives. It was taken just a few hours after the crash that killed Bishop Dwenger student Haley Nellum. Washington faces 11 charges for her death as well as a shooting that happened right before the crash at the Corner Pocket Pub.

Video of Washington’s Interview with Detectives

The video is more than an hour and fifteen minutes long and was taken at police headquarters in downtown Fort Wayne. Washington can be seen with his head in his hands for the majority of the interview. He seems to become more and more agitated throughout the video, as well.

“I have a lot to lose. I have a family,” Washington said in the video as detectives continue to question him.

He claims many times throughout the video that he shot in self-defense and that he was running for his life that night. Washington said the other men involved in the shooting pulled a gun first, but all of the testimonies and evidence in the trial so far haven’t revealed any type of weapon other than Washington’s gun.

Washington can be heard saying “don’t quote me” or “to be honest with you” many times throughout the video. The detectives interview him first about the shooting, and he continues to claim that the other men shot at him first. The three men in the other car being Brian Ybarra, Chris Martenz, and Chad Jackson.

“They pointed at us and fired at us, and I fired back and took off,” Washington said in the video.

Washington told detectives he purposely shot towards the back of the other car because he didn’t want to hurt anybody.

“I’m not an aggressive person. I didn’t attack them, they attacked me,” Washington said in the video. “I wanted to make a point, but I didn’t want to kill anybody.”

Washington said he meant to fire two shots, but accidentally fired a few more because of a light trigger on his gun. He also told detectives he tried to call 911 as he left the Corner Pocket Pub parking lot and hoped he’d get pulled over so police could help him and his passenger, Clayton DeLong. He mentioned he reloaded the magazine of his gun while he was driving as well in case the other men fired at him. He claimed the other men were chasing him, and that he could see them in his rear-view mirror.

“I left, and I was pursued,” Washington said in the video. “I felt threatened. I felt like my life was in danger.”

As for the crash, Washington said he tried to brake when he saw the red light. He told detectives he just kept trying to wake DeLong up, who got knocked out in the crash.

“I didn’t even see the other driver, I was shaken up,” Washington said in the video. “I could barely walk, I could barely move.”

When the detectives remind Washington that a 17-year-old girl died in the crash, he tells them he knew someone died, but that he didn’t know details.

“It wasn’t my intentions to run into that 17-year-old girl. I was trying to preserve me and my friend’s life. At that moment, I was thinking survival,” Washington said in the video.

He also said in the interview that the hospital notified him of his BAC.

“I think they said .15 or something like that,” Washington said in the video.

Crash Expert Testifies

Monday afternoon, a crash expert with the Fort Wayne Police Department testified for nearly two hours. As part of his testimony, the prosecution showed the jury more than 30 pictures of the crash scene as well as attempts to reconstruct what happened that night. The expert confirmed that Washington hit Haley’s car at around 104 miles per hour. He said Haley’s car was going around 55 miles per hour at the time of the crash.

The crash expert walked the jury through dozens of pictures of the cars, which were both heavily damaged. Part of the investigation even included the crash expert putting the actual cars side by side the morning after the crash in an attempt to reconstruct what happened. Through that process, it’s clear to see how Washington hit Haley’s car on the driver’s side.

Shooting Victim Testifies

Chad Jackson, the shooting victim, in the case took the stand on Monday, as well. He was a passenger in Ybarra’s car and got shot in the neck. He said the only altercation he remembers from that night was when Washington got kicked out of the bar. He said that’s when Martenz and Washington started yelling at each other.

Jackson recalled walking to Ybarra’s car in the parking lot and seeing Washington’s car.

“I kind of had an erie suspicion of something bad. There was no response other than just gun fire. I heard at least four shots. My whole entire side of my neck and head was on fire, so I knew I was hit. I literally thought I was dying,” Jackson said.

Jackson said doctors told him the bullet in his neck just missed major arteries. He said doctors told him if the bullet hit those, it’s likely he would have been paralyzed or died.

He also remained adamant that no one in his group had a gun or weapon of any kind.

Trial Schedule

Judge Surbeck, who is presiding over the case, said Monday the trial is moving at a good pace. He expects everything to wrap up by Friday and possibly even earlier than that.

Day seven of the trial starts Tuesday at 9:00 a.m.

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