On Tuesday, a 31-year-old black man was hit by a pickup truck and killed while being a Good Samaritan for trying to remove dangerous debris from a roadway in Leesville.
His name was Sherell Lewis. It was his birthday. He was a barber who was well known in the community for his generosity with local youth. His death was devastating.
But what happened next has sent shock waves across social media.
Matthew Martin, an 18-year-old from Hineston was the driver of the 2003 Chevy truck that hit Lewis, according to Louisiana State Police.
After the collision, Martin reportedly posted a social media video of his dented truck, using several laughing emojis and the caption, “Y’all I just hit a whole guy on the highway.” Police have not confirmed that Martin was behind the posts, but the account was under his name.
When asked what Martin hit, in a SnapChat conversation, he responded:
Martin: Some ni–er
Friend: How did the chevy take it?
Martin: F—ed it up pretty good lol
Friend: It’ll buff out. Did the guy die on impact or what
Martin: No he died otw to the hospital
Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft said his office has been contacted numerous times about the posts. He addressed concerns over social media posts allegedly made by Martin. In a Facebook post, Craft said he was “appalled” by the posts, which contain a racial slur and show a shockingly cavalier attitude about the fatality. But, the sheriff added, such “morally and socially unacceptable” language does not constitute a crime.
Lewis was pronounced dead at an Alexandria hospital. Martin was not injured. Routine toxicology tests are pending. The crash is still under investigation.