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Autopsy: Man killed in Hewitt rollover had dog bite, not gunshot wound

Autopsy: Man killed in Hewitt rollover had dog bite, not gunshot wound

Hewitt Victim (copy)

Hewitt police and firefighters work the scene of a one-vehicle crash that killed a driver Thursday on North Hewitt Drive.

A preliminary autopsy sheds some light on what happened during a one-car crash that killed a Hewitt man last week, but questions remain.

Leon Peysen, 70, died Thursday morning after reversing, hitting a large wooden sign and flipping his car in a parking lot in the 500 block of N. Hewitt Drive. Justice of the Peace Diane Hensley said a preliminary autopsy revealed the wound Hewitt Police suspected was from a gunshot turned out to be a bite wound from one of the three dogs in the car during the wreck. The autopsy report attributes Peysen’s death to mechanical asphyxia and blunt force injuries.

Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin said the first person to respond to the crash was an off-duty Hewitt police officer who saw a crowd gathering near Hewitt Eyes Center, an optometrist’s office. She found Peysen trapped under the car with a dog. In addition to seeing the wound on his neck underneath his ear, officers found a firearm in the wreckage near Peysen and determined no other people were there at the time of the wreck, police said last week.

Police recovered security footage from the clinic that shows Peysen pulling into the parking lot, where three dogs were running loose. Peysen can be seen rounding up the dogs and getting them into the car, officials said.

Instead of leaving, the car reversed suddenly and struck the business’ sign, flipping the car and causing Peysen to tumble out of the driver’s side door and become trapped along with one of the dogs, which got stuck by a paw.

Peysen died at the scene, and police took the animal to a veterinarian. Two other dogs were in the car but ran away after the crash.

Hensley said the dog might have bitten Peysen after the wreck in an attempt to wake him, though the circumstances remain uncertain.

Devlin said the gun will likely still be tested to rule out any other possibilities. He said only one of the dogs belonged to Peysen. The other two belonged to neighbors.

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