Victim in fatal hit and run identified; suspect apprehended by off duty officer

ELKHART, Ind.-- An Elkhart man was attempting to cross US33 when he was struck and killed by a motorist Friday night. 73-year-old Frank Nelson died on the way to Goshen Hospital.  

Lead Investigator Lt. Casey Lehman says two off duty Elkhart Police officers saw the hit and run.

One officer chased after the suspect, 21-year-old Kent Phouangmalay, and the other officer assisted the victim. 

Phouangmalay was charged with 3 felonies including operating while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident, and posession of marijuana. 

Frank Nelson's family says he was a 20-year veteran for the Army and lived in Elkhart. His family believes his car wouldn't start, so Nelson tried to walk across the street to the Discount Tire. 

Phouangmalay was heading southeast on US33 southwest of Sunnyside Avenue when he allegedly hit Nelson and fled. The off duty officer chased him to CR 20 west of Concord Mall Drive. 

The driver pulled into the JC Penney parking lot at Concord Mall where he was detained by the off duty officer.

Investigators said Phouangmalay appeared intoxicated and they are still waiting on the results from a drug and alcohol test. 

The Fatal Alcohol Crash Team is investigating the crash and US33 was blocked off both ways from 6:30 to 11 p.m. Friday night. 

Lieutenant Lehman also pointed out that the nearest crosswalk is almost a mile away.

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