Victim and family of fatal Elkhart hit and run, speak out ahead of funeral

NOW: Victim and family of fatal Elkhart hit and run, speak out ahead of funeral


ELKHART, Ind. --It's been less than a week since five members of an Elkhart family, were out for ice cream, when they were hit by a car along Beardsley Avenue. 

Three of them, 11-year-old Courtney Smith, 8-month-old Dolly Smith, and 22-year-old Shawn Wolcott, died from their injuries. 

The two survivors include Dolly's dad, and Courtney and Shawn's brother, Bradley Smith, and his girlfriend Allison Mikel. 

Bradley Smith and his family spoke only with ABC57 News, after the life-changing tragedy. 

"I remember turning around and hearing the gas pedal flooring, and seeing lights before it hit all of us. That's the last thing I remember," recalls Bradley Smith.

Those are memories he'll never forget.

"Courtney was lying there face down. Shawn was next to Dolly," he adds. 

It was a simple trip for ice cream with his 8-month-old daughter, and his first official date with Mikel.

He forgot his wallet, and called Wolcott and his little sister, Courtney, to bring it.

"I'm thankful Shawn brought me my wallet, but at the same time, I kind of wish I would have remembered it," says Smith. 

They were walking together, after meeting up, when it happened. 

A car ran all five of them over, changing their lives forever. 

"I tried to walk back to hold my daughter, but I couldn't get all the way to her before I collapsed," explains Smith. "When they told me she passed, it killed me inside, because I couldn't hold her one last time."

His father William says, he lived his worst nightmare. 

"It was a nightmare...finding children here, finding children there," he says. "Finding out someone didn't make it, finding out someone did."

He had heard from a friend that there was an accident near his home.

After not being able to reach his children, he started to worry.

"We came to the corner and I saw the lights.  I don't know why, but when I saw them, I knew," William says.

Almost a week later, and there are still no answers and no suspects in custody.

As he prepares to bury his children and grandchild on Friday, he has no closure.

"There's nothing that can be done that has changed what happened to us," William explains. "I hope they find the person. How do you wake up the next morning and feel..and know what you did, and still didn't say anything." 

Bradley, now in a wheelchair after shattering his leg, breaking hit foot and collarbone, did not want to join the rest of the family to visit the makeshift memorial at the site of the incident. 

He and Mikel can't bear to go back. 

"I really wish they could have made it. They were all too young," he adds. "I wish I could have seen [Dolly] grow up and see what she would become."

"She was my everything. My soul, heart, and joy," adds Bradley. 

For now, the family is focusing on remembering the loved ones lost. 

"We'll lose them tomorrow physically, but mentally, we'll never lose them," says William. "I know for a fact, it will be the hardest day of my life. I'll be putting to rest a son, a daughter, and granddaughter all in one day."

And in the midst of their mourning, the entire family cannot thank the tight-knit community enough. 

"All of the flowers and cards and the support that has come in, that has really helped," explains William. "It helps having people around who know and feel the same way we do. And just want to know why."

The funerals for Courtney and Dolly are open to the public.

The family is taking donations for Bradley's medical care:

Billings Funeral Home is also taking donations, on behalf of the family, for the memorial services. 

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