An Omaha man made a startling discovery Wednesday when he decided to investigate what appeared to be an abandoned SUV near 90th and Fort Streets.
As Andrew Wigton checked out the vehicle about 6 a.m. in the parking lot of Democracy Park, he saw that a man was stuck under the Dodge Durango, his shirt tightly pinched underneath the left front tire.
Wigton, 33, tried to maneuver the SUV to free the man, who was unresponsive. He called 911.
Rescue workers pronounced the man dead. He later was identified as William H. Larsen, 60, of Omaha, who was being sought by police in connection with a hit-and-run accident the night before.
Police said they do not suspect foul play in the death of Larsen.
How he died remained under investigation. A police report indicated that the SUV may have run over Larsen.
Wigton said he didn't notice any damage to the SUV and was puzzled by how Larsen could have became trapped under it.
“It's just so freakish that he got caught under the car like that,” Wigton said. “It didn't even look like he had been run over. ... It looked like he just ran out of breath. It's just the craziest circumstance I've ever heard of.”
Another possibility is that Larsen, who apparently was not wearing a jacket, died of exposure. The overnight low was 27.
Police said the hit-and-run occurred about 10 p.m. Tuesday.
The SUV rear-ended a 1997 Nissan Maxima driven by Ian Engen, 18, at the intersection of 114th Street and West Dodge Road, police said.
Engen told police that he asked the SUV driver for insurance information. He said the man put his vehicle in reverse and drove off. Engen said the man was slurring his words.
Engen and his brother followed the SUV to 156th and Spaulding Streets before a 911 dispatcher told them to stop about 10:15 p.m. The Nissan sustained about $1,000 in damage to the rear end, police said.
Larsen's dog was removed from the Durango and taken to the Nebraska Humane Society.