Four current or former Fremont police officers didn’t just drink beer with two young men moments before the crash that killed 18-year-old Jacob Dickmeyer.
One of the officers bought a round of beers for Dickmeyer and his friend as the Fire Barn bar in Waterloo cleared out about closing time.
But the critical question may be what the off-duty officers did — or didn’t do — next.
A defense lawyer raised questions Wednesday about their actions after prosecutors rested their case against Amanda Heiman.
She is the waitress, then 20, on trial on a charge of procuring alcohol for a minor that results in the minor’s death, a felony. A Douglas County jury is expected to begin deliberating Heiman’s fate today.
The four current or former police officers — Sgt. Michael Diers, Stuart Nadgwick, Terry Luthy and Adam Kully — were saying their goodbyes to Kully at a going-away party at the Fire Barn.
As the party waned, the four were joined at the table by the only other customers still in the bar — Dickmeyer and Colby Burke, then 19.
Dickmeyer ordered a round for the men.
A few minutes later: “Somebody reciprocated and bought (Dickmeyer and Burke) a round,” Diers testified Wednesday.
It wasn’t clear which officer purchased the beer. And there was no indication Wednesday that the officers knew that Dickmeyer and Burke were underage.
But it brought the number of people who had purchased alcohol for the minors that weekend to five. Just one of the five is facing a felony charge: Heiman.
Her attorney, Michael Tasset, turned to what happened after the alcohol was consumed.
In the parking lot of the Fire Barn, the four officers were warming up their vehicles to go home. As they did, they watched as Dickmeyer and Burke left briefly, then returned. Burke had been driving.
The officers say Dickmeyer was immediately confrontational — yelling an expletive at them.
Luthy, now a Fremont firefighter, said Dickmeyer approached the officers and said: “What’s up, douche bags?”
Diers said he stepped in front of Dickmeyer.
“I met him and tried to de-escalate the situation,” Diers said. “I didn’t want to fight. So I walked him back to the passenger seat of the car and asked him to go home.”
Surveillance video showed Diers escorting Dickmeyer to the passenger side of the Saturn, as if he were taking him to the back of a police cruiser.
Diers had hold of Dickmeyer’s hands. As a drunken Dickmeyer protested for about a minute, Diers and the others managed to get him into the passenger side.
They shut the car door at 1:05 a.m. — apparently hoping that Burke would drive. Diers testified that he didn’t think Burke was drunk.
However, under cross examination, Diers acknowledged that he had told investigators a day after the Dec. 3, 2012, crash that Burke “seemed out of it, too.”
In fact, Luthy was so concerned that he said he asked Burke if he wanted a ride home. Burke declined, saying he was fine.
About 30 seconds after loading Dickmeyer into the passenger side, at least one of the officers — Kully — saw Dickmeyer slide across the center console to the driver’s side.
Burke then walked around the back of the car to the passenger side.
Everyone pulled out of the parking lot. Luthy drove toward Valley.
Heading east on Dodge: Diers and Kully in Diers’ truck, Nadgwick in his own truck and Dickmeyer and Burke in the Saturn they had borrowed from Heiman.
Within minutes, Kully and Diers watched as the gold Saturn weaved through traffic.
At one point, Diers testified, the Saturn appeared to cut off the truck driven by Nadgwick. Diers and Kully watched as the Saturn passed them at a high rate of speed.
Nadgwick, now an officer with the La Vista Police Department, testified that he, too, saw the Saturn pass him “going fast.”
Another motorist said the Saturn abruptly veered into the median of West Dodge Road and rolled at least six times, catapulting Dickmeyer more than 150 feet into a fence off the north side of the road.
Dickmeyer died at the scene. Burke suffered serious injuries but survived.
The three officers didn’t stop at the crash scene. They testified that they were traveling east, behind the Saturn, but didn’t see the crash.
Nadgwick said he didn’t see a crash but saw the Saturn go into the ditch.
Asked if he called 911, Nadgwick said he didn’t because he understood that Diers or Kully had called, “to report reckless driving.”
Diers said he saw the Saturn abruptly veer into the median. He said he then saw a cloud of dust but no accident.
Sitting in the passenger seat next to Diers, Kully said, he called 911.
Kully, now a police officer in Grand Island, testified Wednesday that he advised 911 “of a reckless driver.” He, too, said he didn’t see a crash.
Heiman’s attorney, Tasset, was skeptical.
He pointed out that another motorist had no problem seeing the crash.
Christopher Destache estimated that the Saturn was going 90 mph before the driver appeared to attempt a U-turn. The car then “flipped six to 12 times,” Destache said.
Destache said he called 911 and reported the crash. He then circled back and went to the crash scene.
Back at the Fire Barn, Heiman was panicking. Having lent Dickmeyer and Burke her car, she called a fellow waitress.
That server, Tammy Haas, testified that she and Heiman had been through training on not serving minors. That day, Haas specifically told Heiman not to serve Dickmeyer and Burke. In fact, Haas had refused to serve Dickmeyer earlier that day.
Then came an early morning phone call from Heiman, Haas said.
“She said, ‘Tammy, I did a horrible thing, I did a horrible thing,’ ” Haas testified. “I served them. ... I gave them my keys, and they were supposed to be back.”
Haas told Heiman that she would come get her. But, she said, she couldn’t go west on Dodge.
The reason: Police and paramedics were tending to a crash site, where Heiman’s car lay crumpled.