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Prosecutors: Woman intentionally rammed bystander; victim’s leg had to be amputated


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - A Fort Wayne mother is accused of intentionally ramming her vehicle into a man at a gas station and then leaving her baby at the scene of the crime.

Prosecutors believe the woman shouldn't have been behind the wheel in the first place, and the injured man had to have his leg amputated.

Brandee Johnson, 28, is charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing catastrophic injury, neglect of a dependent, criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon and driving while suspended.

UPDATED: FWPD arrests driver accused in morning hit-and-run

These charges stem from an incident on Sept. 4 at the Speedway gas station on Bluffton Road.

During an interview, she told detectives she heard some men using racial slurs, but she never meant to harm them.

Around 2 a.m. on Sept. 4, officers responded to a 911 hangup, and that's when police found a man pinned between two vehicles.

Medics found him gravely injured with a near-severed leg. Doctors couldn't save the appendage and had to amputate his leg as a result of his injuries.

Officers believe the woman was at a gas pump, floored it, and then crashed into a man standing behind his vehicle on the lot.

In court documents, a witness told police he was talking to the victim when Johnson drove their way at "max speed." The witness said he was able to get out of the way.

This witness told detectives he believed the collision was intentional, and the woman made no attempt to avoid the victim.

Another witness told detectives he saw Johnson sitting at the pump for about five minutes when he saw her hit the gas. This witness said he had to jump out of the way and take cover behind a pole to avoid getting hit.

A third witness sitting in his vehicle said he heard a car "rev up," heard "tires chatter," and then a "loud crunch." He then saw the woman jogging toward the church parking lot.

Because the one-year-old child was left in the car, officers contacted the Department of Child Services. DCS workers took the child into their care.

A detective reviewing the surveillance footage of the wreck said the collision was no accident: he said Johnson was awake when she hit the gas and turned the car sharply to ram the victim.

At the time of the crash, Johnson ran away from the scene, and the Fort Wayne Police Department put out a previous mugshot in an attempt to find her.

Once police learned where Johnson may be located, officers tracked her down and took her into the police station for an interview.

Johnson said she decided to stop at the gas station that night to fill up and get some drinks and snacks.

Once there, Johnson told investigators she had an "eerie feeling" because of three "weird men around the front door." She said they were pointing at her and laughing.

The woman told police she waited at the pump for about 10 to 15 minutes and decided not to get gas. She instead pulled up to the front door.

At this point, she told detectives she heard the men use a racial slur towards her, and the words "threw her off." She told police "she knew she should of just went home" and "everything happened so fast."

Johnson repeatedly told the detective she had no intention of crashing into the men.

After the collision, she told police she turned around to see if her child was OK, and then she got out of the car.

She said she left the scene of the crash because she had warrants out for her arrest.

Court records show Johnson was previously convicted for driving while suspended.

She is also serving probation for a domestic battery charge she previously pleaded guilty to.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the victim's medical expenses.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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