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Charges filed against suspects in deadly Elkhart hit and run case

NOW: charges filed in elkhart hit and run case

ELKHART, Ind. – Charges have been filed against a husband and wife for allegedly causing the deaths of three people in Elkhart during a hit-and-run crash last August.

Tuesday afternoon the Elkhart County prosecutor's office announced the charges against Leonard and Penelope Grosswiler.

According to court documents, these are the charges:

Penelope Grosswiler

  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death accident results in death.
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death accident results in death.
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death accident results in death.
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Serious Bodily
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Bodily Injury the accident is one involved
  • Obstruction of Justice def. knowingly or intentionally in an official proceedings

Leonard Grosswiler

  • Obstruction of Justice def. knowingly or intentionally in an official proceedings

During a press conference Tuesday, Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Becker said, "These charges allege that Penelope Grosswiler was driving the vehicle that struck all of the victims and then left the scene. She then attempted to hide evidence of the crime. She’s being charged with three counts of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.

She is also charged with a count of obstruction of justice. This addresses a different aspect of the crime.

Her husband, Leonard J. Grosswiler is charged with one count of obstruction of justice, a level 6 felony. This alleges that he attempted to hide evidence of Penelope’s crime.

Two witnesses identify the driver of the vehicle as a female. After Leonard Grosswiler contacted other employees at his place of work with a false story as to why his vehicle was left at that location, those employees discovered that vehicle and shared that information with police. Further investigation then lead to Leonard Grosswiler’s wife, Penelope who gave multiple inconsistent versions of her actions on 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 in fact false. These records provided significant evidence that both Penelope and Leonard’s cellular telephones determined that they were traveling down Beardsley Ave. at the time of the crash. At the time, the Smith family and friends were hit, injured or killed. I charged this case based upon a very critical review of the evidence in conjunction with Indiana law. If any additional evidence continues comes to light, now that this has truly become public, If it’s deemed to be credible and reliable, it will also be considered as we move forward."

Becker said this case has served as a topic in public forum but should be tried in a court of law, not of public opinion.

Both probable cause affidavits were released Tuesday afternoon.

Penelope Grosswiler could be sentenced to a maximum of 21 1/2 years behind bars while her husband faces a maximum of 2 1/2 years. They could both be fined up to $10,000. 

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