Victims' family reacts to charges in Elkhart hit-and-run that killed three

Victims' family reacts to charges in Elkhart hit-and-run that killed three. // WSBT 22

News of Tuesday's charges in the Elkhart hit-and-run that killed three is something the family has been waiting on for months.

The Smith family says it's a mixture of relief and continued frustration.

Family members say they understand why it took a while to file charges.

The family says the police and prosecutor have kept them as informed as possible during the entire process.

While Tuesday's news is one step closer to justice, they're still dealing with the loss of three of their own.

From August to October to Tuesday, the corner of Beardsley and Cassopolis has been a constant but ever-changing memorial to eight-month-old Dolly Smith, 11-year-old Courtney Smith, and 22-year-old Shawn Wolcott.

Almost four months later, the emotions are still raw knowing the driver that hit them, drove off.

"We felt really sad because we waited for the longest time for them to turn themselves in, but they didn't," said Kendra Hernandez, victim's grandmother.

They didn't turn themselves in, but after months of investigation, Penelope and Leonard Grosswiler now face felony charges. The prosecutor says Penelope was behind the wheel.

Sonnie Smith, a family member who lives in Florida, but who has been chosen to speak for the family says reaction is mixed.

"It's a roller coaster of emotions. We are relieved that the public finally knows the truth of who was in the vehicle or who at least owned the vehicle, but it's bitter sweet because it does not bring closure and the charges that they are facing is not enough,” said Smith.

Penelope faces a maximum sentence of 21 and a half years.

Leonard faces up to two and a half.

While the family waits the court system to play out, they want to thank the community for helping them get this far.

"A huge, huge thank you and gratitude goes out to the community for standing behind everyone, for getting information that was very important to this case," said Smith.

There were also two survivors of the crash: Bradley Smith and Allyson Mikel Smith.

The family also wants to thank those who have helped raise money as the survivors continue to recover.

The family is hoping to make Christmas special as they continue to mourn their loved ones.

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