A Newburgh family is searching for answers tonight, after the driver that police say caused their brother's death walks free.
Earlier this week, three felony charges were dropped against Bridget Lafferty. She had been facing multiple charges, including reckless homicide, after police say she hit 34-year-old Jesse Lechner on his scooter on State Road 62 in Warrick County in October 2016. Lechner died at the scene, and Lafferty faced charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana.
In a stunning turn of events, a judge this week dismissed the case against Lafferty on Wednesday.
Jesse Lechner's family says they feel justice wasn't served.
"He wanted us to have the highest opinion of him. And I hope he knows that we did," Jesse's sister Rachel Lechner told Eyewitness News. Family of Jesse Lechner says now there are no answers, and no closure, because the case against Lafferty is over barely after it started.
"We were devastated. We'd been waiting two years to go to trial. For two years, we thought this is what she's being charged with," Jesse's sister Carime Lechner said.
Attorney Mark Phillips, a lawyer for the firm who represents Lafferty, says the case was dismissed because the defense moved to exclude a witness. Phillips says the defense requested evidence from the state for two years and didn't receive it. Court records show the testimony from the witness was struck by the court.
"We just came ready to represent out brother and his son and sit there quietly and show our love," his sisters and cousin Ashley Aull said of their experience in court.
But because the homicide charges were dropped, the family says they weren't allowed to mention Jesse in court, but they want the world to know about him.
"He was an artist. He had a son he loved very much and spent as much time with as he could."
They carry a piece of him everywhere they go.
"We wanted to be able to take him with us as we make new memories. I'm getting married next year, and he won't be able to be there. But we got these necklaces and they have parts of his remains in there," says Rachel.
Necklaces. Tattoos -- so Jesse can go wherever they do, and so he can help other families get the justice they say they are missing.
"His story is not over. It's on a journey."
The family plans to become advocates and would like to hear from families facing similar tragedies.
We reached out to the Warrick County prosecutor's office for comment multiple times but have not heard back.
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