James “David” Sturgeon was a friendly, outgoing poet who died pushing someone he cared about out of harm’s way, his family said.
Around 9 p.m. Sept. 4, Sturgeon was walking on State Road 46 East with his girlfriend after enjoying a ribeye steak at Out of the Ordinary in Nashville, said his stepmother, Amber Sturgeon.
He was going to pick up a duffel bag that his girlfriend, Christina Grimes, had left at another restaurant in town where she worked.
“She didn’t want to drag that bag through town, because they walked,” Amber Sturgeon said.
The couple crossed from the north side to the south side of the road at the Hawthorne Drive intersection. David Sturgeon was struck by an eastbound Volkswagen Jetta, a news release from the Nashville Police Department said.
“As they started to cross, they got almost to the yellow line. He looked to the right and saw that car coming,” Amber Sturgeon said.
Grimes was not injured, Nashville Police Chief Ben Seastrom said. She told David Sturgeon’s family that he had pushed her out of the way of the oncoming car, then the car hit him.
He was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital by ambulance and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The driver of the Jetta, Jameson Harris of Columbus, remained at the scene, police said.
State Road 46 East was closed for four hours while police were investigating.
Amber Sturgeon was getting ready for bed when she received a call from her father-in-law. Grimes had called him to report that David was in an accident. They went to the hospital, along with David’s 5-year-old daughter, Luna, who lived with David and his grandfather in Brown County.
David Sturgeon, 28, had attended kindergarten in Brown County while living with a relative, then moved out of the county for a couple of years before moving in with Amber Sturgeon at about age 8. He attended Hope Elementary School, then attended middle and high schools in Shelbyville and obtained his high school equivalency diploma, she said.
He moved back to Brown County to live with his paternal grandfather, James Sturgeon, at age 18, she said.
Police said a 23-year-old Bloomington man almost hit a volunteer firefighter with his vehicle while he was helping to direct traffic, while police were investigating this crash. That driver was arrested on preliminary charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated with endangerment, resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct.
He later posted bond. At press time, official charges had not been filed against him. A motion to suspend his driver’s license was filed on Sept. 6.
That matter remains under investigation, the Brown County Sheriff’s Department stated.
Police continue to investigate the fatal crash. Witnesses are asked to call the Nashville Police Department at 812-988-5533.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to collect donations for David Sturgeon’s funeral expenses.