Though authorities said a 29-year-old Longview man was killed in a drug-related road rage incident, his fiancee said it was a cellphone transaction that got out of control.
Nathan Hardesty died in the incident that unfolded around 6:45 p.m. Thursday. Witnesses told Longview police the driver of a white car got out of his car and then was hit by the driver of a black car.
Police confirmed a 2011 black Kia Forte and a white 1996 Honda Accord were involved. Hardesty was driving the Honda.
Hardesty’s fiancee, Keschelle Burton is pregnant with their third child and said their children — who are 4 and 2 — were in the car at the time.
“Me and my kids were actually there,” Burton told KOIN News. “He had met a pair of girls to sell them an item off of OfferUp and instead of giving him all the money, they only gave him part of it. They pulled over to the side of the road, I was talking to one of the girls through the diver side window, the next thing I know Nathan was no longer outside of the car, he was under the vehicle. Both our kids watched him get run over.”
She said she thought the item was a “cell phone, some kind of electronic. One of his friends arranged it. He didn’t know the girl.”
Burton said she didn’t know how much Hardesty was shorted in the transaction, which began “at a mutual friend’s apartment complex.”
“They just sped out of there and he tried to follow them and they pulled off to the side of the road, and he stopped his car at an angle,” she said.
Burton said she was going to confront the women in the other car, but “it happened so fast. I don’t know why he got out of the car or if he was walking in front. I don’t know how it happened because I was distracted.”
Neighbors reported hearing screaming outside and came out to a disturbing scene. One neighbor called the scene chaotic with people yelling.
Those who witnessed it told KOIN 6 News it was clear the two groups knew each other by the way they were shouting.
“I’m assuming they (witnesses) thought we knew each other because we were talking or yelling at each other, but that was my first time meeting them,” Burton told KOIN News. “I didn’t hear Nathan’s voice at all during the time, at first I didn’t realize he’d gotten out of the car.”
Hardesty was trapped underneath a car. Someone approached a neighbor and asked for a jack to help get Hardesty out from under the car.
Investigators have a different account
The Longview police said there were 2 women in the black Kia Forte, a 28-year-old driver and a 26-year-old passenger. The passenger and Hardesty took part in a drug sale in Kelso, but the women paid for the drugs with counterfeit money.
They took off, and Hardesty followed them in his white 1996 Honda Accord all the way to Longview, “engaging in aggressive and reckless driving along the way.”
Police said Burton assaulted the driver of the Kia, and it was during the assault that the Kia slowly rolled forward, hit Hardesty and pinned him underneath.
Officials also said they recovered what they believe to be heroin at the scene.
“There were occupants in both vehicles and independent witnesses saw the event unfold,” said Longview PD Detective Sgt. Chris Blanchard. “It appears it was a drug-related incident where the various occupants of each vehicle knew each other and it stems from a drug incident.”
Hardesty a ‘stay-at-home dad’
Nathan Hardesty, Burton said, is “one of the biggest hearted guys I ever met.”
And he was an involved stay-at-home dad, Burton said.
“He did all our laundry, everything that a typical mom would do, he did for them. The first person they want is their dad. They are very close,” she added.
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. Call 360.442.5800 if you saw anything.