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UPDATE: Elkhart hit-and-run suspects out of jail on bond

 Penelope Grosswiler and Leonard Grosswiler
Penelope Grosswiler and Leonard Grosswiler (WNDU)
Published: Dec. 20, 2017 at 1:12 PM EST
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A husband and wife that are fatal hit-and-run suspects have bonded out of jail after they had turned themselves in to police on Wednesday.

Penelope and Leonard Grosswiler had voluntarily surrendered at the Elkhart County Jail on Wednesday afternoon, one day after they were charged in connection with a fatal hit and run accident that dates back to August.

According to Captain James Bradberry of the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department, they bonded out of jail at 6 p.m.

Jail records showed that 42-year-old Leonard was being held on a $10,000 bond while 40-year-old Penelope’s had been set at $100,000.

Both face initial court appearances on December 28th.

It’s alleged that Penelope was driving the night of August 26th when five pedestrians and two other cars were hit at Beardsley and Cassopolis in Elkhart.

Three people died, including two children: 8 month old Dolly Smith and 11 year old Courtney Smith.

According to court documents the case was eventually cracked by an “app.” Leonard and Penelope allegedly had tracking applications on their cellphones. Police obtained records that allegedly placed both phones at the scene of the accident which, in turn, discredited statements made by the Grosswiler’s that they were somewhere else.

Court documents allege that the Grosswiler’s Cadillac was taken to the back parking lot of an Elkhart County factory shortly after the crash where damage to the front end and windshield was covered with a tarp.

Court documents further allege that police were able to obtain surveillance video from a nearby business showing the Cadillac was visited by someone in the Grosswiler’s pickup truck an estimated 16 times the day after the crash.

Earlier version:

A woman and her husband are now in police custody after they were charged in connection with a fatal Elkhart hit-and-run that killed three people and injured two others.

Penelope Grosswiler, 40, and Leonard Grosswiler, 42, turned themselves in to the Elkhart County Correction Facility at around noon Wednesday.

Penelope is being held on $100,000 bond, and Leonard's bond was set at $10,000.

Investigators believe Penelope was driving on the night of August 26 when Bradley Smith and his family were hit at Beardsley Avenue and Cassopolis Street.

Bradley's 8-month-old daughter Dolly, his 11-year-old sister Courtney, and his half-brother Shawn died.



Couple charged in Elkhart hit-and-run that killed 3 Originally posted on Dec. 19, 2017

A wife and her husband have been charged in connection with a fatal Elkhart hit-and-run that killed three people and injured two others- people whose families had hopes and dreams about their futures.

A wife and her husband have been charged in connection with a fatal Elkhart hit-and-run that killed three people and injured two others- people whose families had hopes and dreams about their futures.

"I know everybody wanted to see them see the world, be happy," Dolly Smith's Grandmother, Kenra Hernandez said.

There's a warrant out for Penelope Grosswiler, 40, and Leonard Grosswiler, 42, from Elkhart.

Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Becker named the couple for the first time on Tuesday afternoon.

Investigators believe Penelope was driving the night of August 26th, when she ran over Bradley Smith and his family at Beardsley and Cassopolis Street. After witness statements, they believe the couple lied about what happened and Leonard tried to hide the car, keeping the family of the victims holding on to the edge of their seat as they waited for justice to be done.

"We waited for a long time for them to turn themselves in, but they didn't," Hernandez said. "They kept running and it was hard."

Police used an app to track the couple's cell phones to Beardsley the same time the run-in happened.

Bradley's eight-month-old daughter Dolly, his 11-year-old sister Courtney and half-brother Shawn died.

Penelope Grosswiler faces three counts of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, one count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury, one count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury, and one count of obstruction of justice.

She faces up to 21 and a half years in prison if convicted.

Leonard Grosswiler is charged with one count of obstruction of justice and could face over two years in prison.

Becker admits she doesn't know if the Grosswilers are in Indiana right now, but has been in contact with their attorney.

Hernandez has a message for the Grosswilers.

"It hurts," She said. "I want them to know how would it feel if somebody else took your kids."

Watch video from Tuesday's news conference at facebook.com/NewsCenter16

Mayor Tim Neese released the following statement on Tuesday:
“Although nothing can return the lives that were lost, I hope that today’s formal charges will provide some comfort to the families of Dolly, Courtney and Shawn,” said Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese. “These charges are a testament to the professionalism and diligence of the Elkhart Police Department. They are also a testament to the integrity of our citizens who provided quick and detailed information to assist both the police department and the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office. In the days and months ahead, I ask that our community continue to pray for the families that were impacted and have faith that through a fair and impartial legal system, justice will be served.”

From Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Becker on Tuesday:
On August 26, 2017 our community suffered a severe tragedy in which many lives were forever changed. Shawn Wolcott, 22, of Elkhart, was killed. Bradley Smith, 22, of Elkhart, was gravely injured, and his daughter Dolly, 8 months old, was killed. Brad’s sister Courtney Smith, 11, of Elkhart, was killed. Allison Smith, 22, of Elkhart, was also injured. The police have been diligently doing their job to complete a thorough investigation and preserve the integrity of the evidence that will be material to proving this case in the criminal justice system despite the bevy of social media commentary. This case, nor any case, can be tried on Facebook, or in the media. This case will proceed through the Criminal Justice system with respect for the Constitution, and the laws of the State of Indiana which protect the Due Process rights of every accused person in this great country. Today, I filed formal criminal charges against Penelope A. Grosswiler, 40, and Leonard J. Grossweiler, 42, both of Elkhart, which begins the formal court process of seeking justice. These charges allege that Penelope Grosswiler was driving the vehicle that struck all of the victims and left the scene, then attempting to hide evidence of the crime. She is being charged with: three (3) counts of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death, all Level 5 felonies; one (1) count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, a Level 6 felony; one (1) count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Injury, a Class A misdemeanor; and, one (1) count of Obstruction of Justice, a Level 6 felony. Her husband, Leonard J. Grosswiler, is charged with one (1) count of Obstruction of Justice, a Level 6 felony, alleging he attempted to hide evidence of Penelope’s crime. Both Penelope and Leonard remain innocent until proven guilty. As I have previously indicated, this investigation consists of witness statements, and a significant amount of additional investigation in an attempt to corroborate or contradict the information that has been collected. Efforts to locate and document this collateral information are imperative and take significant time as forensic analysis, location of additional possible witnesses and evidence, and other means of corroboration, are pursued. Unlike the public commentary that is so prevalent right now, the State may only rely upon evidence that is admissible in a court of law, and subject to cross-examination to demonstrate its credibility. Accordingly, when it is time for the case to proceed to trial, the evidence will fully come to public knowledge. Until then, we are very limited in what can, and should, be released. What I will disclose, and which is in the formal Affidavit of Probable Cause in support of these cases, is that two witnesses identify the driver of the vehicle as a female. After Leonard Grosswiler contacted fellow employees at his place of work with a false story as to why his vehicle was left at that location, those employees discovered the subject vehicle and immediately contacted police. Further investigation led to Leonard Grosswiler’s wife, Penelope, who gave multiple inconsistent versions of her actions of August 26, 2017. A review of cellular telephone records, internet records, and information from a company that produces a specific software application documented that Penelope’s versions were false. In fact, these records provided significant evidence in documenting that both Leonard and Penelope’s cellular telephones were travelling down Beardsley Avenue at the time the Smith family and friends were hit, injured, and killed. I have charged this case based upon a very critical review of the evidence in conjunction with Indiana law. If any additional evidence comes to light that is deemed to be credible and reliable, it will also be considered as we move forward. As I am limited by the Rules of Professional Conduct as to disclosures of evidence I am allowed to make in pre-trial publicity, further evidence will have to come to light at trial, not here. I am providing this information at this time as we are ready to move the process forward in the proper judicial setting. Once the Court has reviewed the charges, warrants will likely issue bringing Mr. and Mrs. Grosswiler into Court to be apprised of the charges, their rights, deadlines, and possible penalties. Penelope Grosswiler is facing a possible maximum sentence of 21 ½ years of imprisonment, and a minimum of no time in prison at all. Leonard Grosswiler is facing a possible maximum sentence of 2 ½ years imprisonment and a minimum of no time in prison at all. Each could face a maximum fine of $10,000. The Court and the State are bound to these possible sentences based upon the current status of Indiana law.