UPDATE: Elkhart elementary student among victims killed in hit-and-run
Three people were killed and two others were seriously injured after a hit-and-run driver plowed into a crowd of people on Saturday evening in Elkhart.
The crash happened at around 9:19 p.m. near East Beardsley Avenue and Cassopolis Street. The victims were apparently hit from behind while walking on a nearby sidewalk, police said.
On Sunday evening, Elkhart Police named the deceased victims as Shawn Wolcott, 22, of Elkhart, Courtney Smith, 11, of Elkhart and Dolly Smith, 8 months, of Elkhart.
"Any times kids are involved in a case, it’s a lot harder for law enforcement," said Sgt. Chris Snyder, the public information officer for the Elkhart Police Department. "Law enforcement -- we see ourselves as protectors of the city and of the area."
He added police are still searching for the suspect's vehicle. Officers believe it is a light-colored Cadillac with front and driver-side damage. There is no description of the driver.
"I'm pretty confident somebody out there knows it's just a point of them...picking up the phone…making a call, saying, 'This is what we know, and this was who was involved,'" he said.
Courtney Smith died at the scene. Shawn Wolcott was transported to Memorial Hospital, where he later died.
Dolly Smith was transported to Memorial Hospital and was being transported to Riley Hospital before returning to Memorial Hospital due to complications. She was later taken to Comer Children's Hospital in Chicago, where she later died.
Allison Mikel / Smith, 22, of Elkhart, and Bradley Smith, 22, of Elkhart, were both treated at hospitals for serious injuries.
Kendra Hernandez, Bradley's mother, told NewsCenter 16 her son was Dolly's father while 11-year-old Courtney was the sister of Bradley and Shawn Wolcott. Hernandez said Allison Mikel/Smith and Bradley are dating.
Elkhart Community Schools said Courtney Smith was a student at Beardsley Elementary. Supt. Dr. Robert Haworth released the following statement:
Police do not yet know whether the act was intentional, or whether drugs or alcohol were involved. They are trying to learn more information from survivors, including the victims in two nearby vehicles that were hit by the suspect vehicle as it left the area. The people in those vehicles were not seriously hurt, police said.
"We’re asking for anybody that was in this area and saw something that happened to give us a call. Also, if you’re outside and you see something with a neighbor's vehicle, that looks like it might have been involved, give us a call," Snyder added.
Members of the Elkhart police and fire departments responded and found the victims lying in the road and on the sidewalk.
Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese, responded with a written statement on Sunday morning:
Police believe the suspect's vehicle was traveling east on Beardsley when it left the south side of the road and hit the victims. It then continued on Beardsley, hit two vehicles and drove away.
"It might take a few days for them to be able to start to recall some of those details on what exactly happened," Snyder said.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the suspect vehicle to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP.
"We know the vehicle continued eastbound at least to the area of Johnson Street, which is a pretty busy intersection, so hopefully somebody there saw something and is able to provide us with some details," Synder said.
to read the tribute Elkhart Community Schools posted on Facebook.