The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, September 14, 2021 1:00 am

Accused driver in fatal hit-run 'freaked out'

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne man three times convicted of driving while intoxicated, told police he “freaked out” when he fled the scene of a fatal crash.

Samuel E. Lovellette, 52, was arrested by Fort Wayne police Saturday in connection with the Aug. 25 crash that killed Keilan Melisa Moreira. Lovellette has been charged with two felonies – leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and obstruction of justice.

Moreira was crossing East State Boulevard between Bayer and Kentucky avenues when she was struck about 9:30 p.m. A witness said he saw the driver run over the victim's body after he initially struck her, court documents said.

Police used photos from area surveillance cameras to ask for the public's help in identifying a suspect. Officers were able to identify Lovellette, who is the owner of a 2002 gold Ford Explorer, as a suspect using records from a local pawn shop.

Lovellette's vehicle was spotted by a confidential informant, who told police it was parked in the 1900 block of Fox Point Trail, court records said. The vehicle had some damage, but there was evidence the hood had been replaced since the crash.

Police found the hotel where Lovellette was staying. He was taken into custody without incident, the court records said.

When interviewed by police, Lovellette said he didn't know what he had struck Aug. 25 because he hadn't seen anything or anyone in the road. He added that he “freaked out and got scared” when he looked behind him and saw the victim in the road, so he drove off.

When asked about the new hood on his car, Lovellette said he couldn't “drive around and look at it all the time,” court records said, so he replaced it with one from a salvage yard. Lovellette told police that he cut up the hood and threw it away.

Lovellette did not make any attempts to report the incident, Officer Jason Fuhrman wrote in a report.

“The defendant then actively removed and destroyed the evidence by cutting up the hood instead of just throwing it out,” the report states. “He prevented the vehicle hood from being used as evidence because of his actions.”

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