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Police: Man riding in truck found dead

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A Franklin man died Friday morning after police said he fell or jumped from a moving vehicle, and the woman and man who were with him were arrested.

Joshua Hewett, 31, was found dead on the side of the road early Friday morning. Police said he was riding in the bed of his own pickup truck south of Franklin, and told two people inside the truck that he was going to jump out, according to a news release from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

Dana McKie, 25, 1070 Fairlane Court, Franklin, and Jeffrey Kern, 33, 38616 Stonewall Farm Lane, Middleburg, Va., went back to find Hewett. They found him dead along the side of Greensburg Road, near County Road 450E, the release said.

Both McKie and Kern were arrested on a charge of operating while intoxicated. A breath test showed McKie’s blood-alcohol content was 0.08 percent. Kern refused to take a blood-alcohol test, Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox said.

Investigators learned that both McKie and Kern were driving the truck at some point Thursday night or Friday morning, Cox said.

The pair had picked Hewett up at Bojak’s Bar & Grille in Franklin. The three were friends, but Cox didn’t know how they knew each other, he said.

The couple told investigators that Hewett wanted to ride in the back of the truck so he could stargaze, Cox said.

After he said he was going to jump out, they looked back and he was no longer in the truck, the release said.

An autopsy Friday showed the preliminary cause of the death was blunt force trauma to the chest, Johnson County Coroner Craig Lutz said.

The sheriff’s office is investigating the death, including talking to people who may know what the three were doing Thursday night and Friday morning and searching the area for evidence. Investigators found damage to a mailbox and signs that a vehicle had driven in a cornfield near where Hewett’s body was found, Cox said.

Both McKie and Kern were arrested and taken to the Johnson County jail. McKie was released on $1,000 bond, and Kern was being held on $1,000 bond.

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