Newlywed Dragged Under Trailer for Blocks after Confronting Driver Who Hit Her Car and Fled: Police

Henry Wardwell is accused of vehicular manslaughter in the death of Juliet Powell-Brown in Aurora, Colorado, earlier this week

Photo: Aurora Police Department

A Colorado man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter after he allegedly ran over a new bride with his camping trailer and dragged her for several blocks following a verbal altercation, PEOPLE confirms.

Henry Wardwell, 48, is also accused of leaving the scene of a fatal accident as well as the misdemeanor charges of leaving the scene of an injury accident, reckless driving, driving a vehicle while license revoked for alcohol, habitual traffic offender and operating an uninsured vehicle on a public roadway.

Wardwell has not been formally charged yet. An advisement hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

He remains in custody without bond at the Arapahoe County Detention Facility.

The victim, 47-year-old Juliet Powell-Brown, was a newlywed, relatives told local TV station KDVR. She got married to her husband three weeks before her death, according to Denver station KUSA.

“Recently got married, and just like that, took it away from him,” her cousin Anthony Wynter said to KDVR. “Rage, sadness, a whole swirl of emotions, just a big ol’ storm. Hit like a freight train.”

Colorado police say the deadly incident began on Monday around 5:30 p.m. when Wardwell, who was driving a GMC pickup truck and pulling a camping trailer, backed into the sedan occupied by Powell-Brown, her husband and another woman in the parking lot of a discount tire store in Aurora.

“It was a private property small fender-bender in a parking lot and Mr. Wardwell didn’t have insurance,” Aurora police Lt. Jad Lanigan tells PEOPLE. “He was like, ‘Okay well I bumped into your car, so let me go back to my car and I will get my insurance — and then he left the scene of the accident without exchanging information.”

The trio in the sedan followed Wardwell down the street and he eventually pulled over, Lanigan says.

Powell-Brown and her husband then got out of the vehicle, approached his driver’s door of the truck and got into an argument with him.

A witness later told police that Wardwell then turned his steering wheel and accelerated and made a U-Turn, according to a probable cause statement obtained by PEOPLE.

Powell-Brown was “struck by the driver’s side front area of the travel trailer and pulled underneath the trailer and was trapped under the trailer until she was freed in the area of S. Chambers Road where she was found,” the police document states.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

The witness said he was not sure if Wardwell knew that Powell-Brown was stuck under the trailer as he drove away.

Police say Wardwell was quickly pulled over after officers initiated a traffic stop. He immediately got out of the truck and went inside his camper trailer, according to the probable cause statement.

Before he obeyed commands to get to the ground, police observed Wardwell leave the trailer “with a half full bottle of soda in his right hand and a orange colored prescription type bottle in his left hand” and then he poured both bottles in his mouth.

After Wardwell was placed in handcuffs, he allegedly informed an officer that he was dying, according to the probable cause statement.

“When asked why, he stated that he had just swallowed approximately 60 Trazodone sleeping pills,” police said in the statement. “Wardell continued that he was losing his home, he lost his girlfriend, he was on probation, and had run from a traffic accident. Wardwell stated that he felt that his life was over and he was trying to kill himself.”

Powell-Brown, the mother of an 11-year-old daughter, was taken to the Medical Center of Aurora South where she was pronounced dead.

“We lost someone that is young and vibrant, that just got married, it didn’t have to happen,” family friend Jonathan Douglas told KDVR.

Powell-Brown had plans to start a hair business, her husband told the station.

“It is such a sad story all around,” Lt. Lanigan tells PEOPLE. “It is just a simple thing that if you would have done just one other thing, nothing would have happened. Here this young lady she lost her life. It was senseless. It is frustrating.”

Related Articles