Charges filed in Elkhart hit-and-run that killed 3

Scene of the hit-and-run in Elkhart // WSBT 22 photo

Two people now face charges in a hit-and-run accident that killed three people.

At the Elkhart County Prosecutor's office, Prosecutor Vicki Becker said the driver of the car could face more than 21 years in prison.

40-year-old Penelope Grosswiler and her husband, 42-year-old Leonard Grosswiler, both face obstruction of justice charges for the August crash.

But Penelope faces five additional charges, including leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.

The prosecutor says, she was driving the car that plowed into five people along Beardley Avenue and her husband tried to cover it up.

"We really should first start with the undeniable fact that our community suffered a terrible, terrible tragedy,” said Becker.

Three people died on August 26.

22-year-old Shawn Wolcott, 11-year-old Courtney Smith and eight-month-old Dolly Smith. Dolly would have been a year old this past Saturday.

Becker says she's not just looking for justice for those victims.

“This has affected our entire community and it has completely disrupted what we called the peace and dignity of Elkhart County and because of that we work for, all of the people not just one specific group,” said Becker.

Becker says she has good evidence to make sure justice is done, including witness accounts and cell phone data.

"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 in documenting that both Leonard and Penelope's cellular telephones were traveling down Beardsley avenue at the time of the crash,” said Becker.

Becker says there has been a lot of chatter on social media about the case.

She says that's part of the reason it took so long to file charges.

“In fact, it has caused investigators to have to go down many different tangents for people who reported information that was not necessarily accurate and that his caused some distractions in this case,” said Becker.

Becker says her office must focus on forensic investigation of things like video and cell phone data, which also takes time.

"Even though they take time, it is better to do it right the first time then to just ignore it and go forward without being fully educated,” said Becker.

Becker says arrest warrants have been filed, but the Grosswilers are not in custody yet.

Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese released a statement Tuesday afternoon:

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.
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