The pastor of a Wolf Lake church died Thursday morning after he was struck by and pinned under a vehicle driven by a member of his immediate family.
The Rev. James A. Haugen, 67, of Columbia City, died of blunt force trauma in the accident, the Allen County Coroner's Office ruled Thursday. He was the pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church, which has operated a food pantry for the past several years.
Fort Wayne Police said the accident occurred shortly after 9 a.m. at Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, 999 E. Tillman Road. When police arrived, they found that employees already had used a forklift to raise the vehicle off Haugen.
He was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. A short time later he was pronounced dead.
He had arrived in the vehicle, a green Ford minivan, that trapped him. Haugen was out of the vehicle and inside the loading area, where he was guiding or directing the vehicle as it was backing up into the loading area, when the accident occurred, police said.
Witnesses said the vehicle was backing up into the loading area when it struck the victim, continued in reverse over the victim and pinned him underneath the vehicle.
Haugen is the 24th person killed in traffic accidents in Fort Wayne and Allen County this year. This incident remains under investigation with the Fort Wayne Police Department, the Allen County Prosecutor's Office, and the Allen County Coroner's Office.
Community Harvest will be closed the remainder of Thursday and Friday. This includes all Farm Wagon stops. It will resume operations Saturday for the Saturday Morning Helping Hands Food Distribution and Community Cupboard program beginning at 9 a.m.