High-speed crash

An SUV travels past were a fatal accident happened Nov. 10 on County Road P43 just south of Fort Calhoun. Lengthy skid marks were still visible on the road.

The Washington County Attorney's Office will convene a grand jury investigation into the death of a Fort Calhoun man following a high-speed crash involving law enforcement.

Jackson Potadle, 19, died Friday night after he fled a traffic stop in the 2400 block of County Road P43.

Washington County sheriff's deputies were preparing to search the vehicle when Potadle took off north at a high rate of speed.

The deputies attempted, but were unable to catch the vehicle. Minutes later, they came upon the car, which had struck a tree in the 4600 block of CR P43 just west of U.S. Highway 75.

The vehicle, which was heavily damaged, lost control on a curve in the road, entered the west ditch before striking the tree.

Speed was a factor in the crash.

Potadle was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy was performed Saturday, Washington County Attorney Scott Vander Schaaf confirmed.

Vander Schaaf said there has been no determination on when a grand jury will take place. Those court proceedings are closed to the public.

State law requires a grand jury be called when someone dies when being arrested or while in custody. The grand jury determines whether any law enforcement officers violated any law during the arrest or death involved in the incident.

However, Vander Schaaf said, he doesn't believe the deputies did anything wrong.

“There's no indication that law enforcement has acted against policy,” he said.

It's unclear why Potadle, who was stopped for speeding, chose to run from the deputies. A check of Potadle's criminal history shows he was cited for possession of marijuana, less than an ounce, in December in Washington County and in March in Burt County. He also has two citations for traffic violations in Burt County in 2015 and 2016.

Vander Schaaf declined at this time to release why deputies were going to search his vehicle, what may have been found and other details about the incident.

Regardless of the legal proceeding, Vander Schaaf reiterated that this “tragic situation” could and should have been avoided.

“There is nothing that an individual can be charged with in this county that is worth dying over,” he said.

The names of the deputies have not yet been released. The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating the crash.