Man connected to fatal hit and run says he didn’t cause crash

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The driver of a BMW who police said ran away from a fiery three-vehicle crash along West Jefferson Boulevard Monday night told NewsChannel 15 Friday he did not cause the wreck and tried to help the victims.

Fort Wayne Police said Thursday that 31-year-old Justin T. Votaw of Fort Wayne was the driver of a BMW that crashed into two other vehicles just after 11 p.m. Monday in the 1800 block of West Jefferson Boulevard on the bridge near Swinney Park.

Jonny Tracy, 23, and 24-year-old Alisa Arseneau were killed in the crash. Their bodies burned beyond recognition from flames, according to the Allen County Coroner.

Justin T. Votaw (Photo courtesy Allen County Sheriff's Dept.)
Justin T. Votaw (Photo courtesy Allen County Sheriff’s Dept.)

Three more victims from the other vehicles were taken to a hospital in “stable” condition, police at the scene said. West Jefferson Boulevard was closed between the West Central neighborhood and Lindenwood Cemetery for several hours as investigators processed the scene.

It’s not clear yet how the crash happened.

At his New Haven home Friday, Votaw, with a black eye and a stitched-up forehead, told NewsChannel 15 that he did not cause the crash. Votaw said he got out of his vehicle to help, but got scared.

When asked if he left the scene, Votaw said to contact his attorney.

A witness told police the driver of one of the vehicles involved in the crash ran from the scene, and police searched through the night and into Tuesday for that person.

Votaw added that he’s received death threats in the days after the crash.

Three vehicles collided along West Jefferson Boulevard near Swinney Park on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, in a crash that killed two people.
Three vehicles collided along West Jefferson Boulevard near Swinney Park on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, in a crash that killed two people.

On Thursday, a lead investigator told NewsChannel 15 that police have communicated with him. Charges have not been filed against Votaw and the investigation into the crash is active, the investigator said.

Votaw has previous arrests for operating while intoxicated and endangering a person as well as driving while suspended, according to court records.