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Attorney for ex-boyfriend of pregnant woman found on I-90 says she fell out of SUV during argument

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CLEVELAND -- The attorney for the man arrested after his pregnant ex-girlfriend was found on I-90 spoke out to FOX 8's Kevin Freeman on Wednesday.

Attorney Leif Christman said his client, Patrick Carner, was taking Vonnashia Akins, 21, to Parma Monday for her first day of nursing assistant classes in a rented Ford Explorer.

According to the attorney, as Akins and her Carner were driving on I-90, Akins started arguing with him about an internet posting. The attorney said Akins saw Carner at a nightclub a week earlier with two women; she reportedly recorded an altercation she had with them and posted the video online.

Mug shot of Patrick Carner from Feb. 2019 (courtesy: Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office)

The attorney said when they got to around Chester Avenue, Akins threatened to jump out of the vehicle. Christman said she opened the door and Carner  grabbed her to keep her from doing it.

He said they were driving in the far left lane at the time, and as he struggled with her, he pulled over as far to the right as he could.  While trying to maintain control of the SUV, Carner lost his grip on Akins, and she fell onto the highway, the attorney told Kevin Freeman.

“Her own reckless actions caused her demise,” said Christman.

Christman said his client pulled over, stopped and went to check on her. According to his attorney, he flagged down passing drivers for help and made a call to 911. The attorney said when his client saw she was deceased, he panicked and left.

Vonnashia Akins (photo via family)

Documents filed in Cleveland Municipal Court on Wednesday support that story. According to the probably case affidavit, the pair got into an argument when Akins opened the front, passenger door and tried to get out of the moving vehicle. The two struggled over the open door and eventually Akins fell out, the document said. Carner stopped the car, looked at the victim, called 911 and provided false information before leaving the scene, according to the affidavit.

Christman said, due to several mix-ups and the attorney’s schedule, they were not able to arrange a meeting  with authorities until around 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

Christman disputes that Akins would have any gunshot wounds because he says Carner didn’t shoot her. Witnesses reported seeing what they thought appeared to be gunshot wounds.

The medical examiner has not released an official cause of Akins' death, but released a statement to FOX 8.

“This case is still pending. Our investigation is ongoing, but the decedent has injuries consistent with a motor vehicle crash.”

Carner is in the custody of Cleveland police. Christman said he expects police will file charges of tampering with evidence and obstruction for leaving the scene of the accident and getting rid of the Ford Explorer.

Christman said Carner and Akins met about six months ago and started a brief relationship on July 4, then broke up about a week ago.

Akins' family on Tuesday old FOX 8 she was in a violent relationship.

She leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter and relatives said she was pregnant with her second child.

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