A Louisiana motorist who mocked the Black man he struck and killed while driving along a busy highway won’t face charges in the case, state police announced Thursday.
Sherrell Lewis Jr. was clearing debris in the southbound lanes of U.S. 171 on May 29 when he was hit by a 2003 Ford pickup driven by suspect Matthew Martin, local station KPLC-TV reported. It was Lewis’ 31st birthday.
Not long after the crash, Martin, who was 18 at the time, messaged a friend on Snapchat saying he’d just hit “some n—-r” on the highway and that the impact “f—-d up” his truck pretty good.
“Y’all, I just hit a whole guy on the highway,” the 18-year-old wrote on Snapchat post, followed by several laughing emojis. Meanwhile, Lewis, a beloved barber in the community, was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries during medical treatment.
Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft denounced Martin’s posts but said they didn’t violate any criminal laws.
This man meant a lot to the community here. He was at every event, school function, games, graduation all that. Most of all man he cared about us everytime we went into the barber shop he would give us advice and talk to us💯 #JusticeForRell #Justice4Rell pic.twitter.com/OUbzxLy3ck
— zayraw_ (@xavier_evans3) May 30, 2018
According to the police investigation, the teen was driving his vehicle at the posted speed of 55 mph but decreased his speed as he approached Lewis, who was clearing debris as a safety precaution, in the roadway. Martin switched from the right to the left lane, but that’s when Lewis started walking back toward the grass median, putting him in the direct path of the pick-up.
Damage to the vehicle’s front bumper and injuries sustained by the deceased helped officers determine which direction Lewis was walking in when he was struck, according to the news station. Police added that Martin’s phone records showed he wasn’t on his phone at the time of the accident.