INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis woman was one of several people killed in five separate crashes Friday morning.
The hit-and-run happened on the city’s southeast side around 8:30 a.m. in the 7100 block of East Troy Avenue. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) said officers arrived at the scene and found a woman unresponsive.
The victim, identified by the Marion County Coroner’s Office as 59-year-old Carol D. Miller, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“She was always there to help someone, regardless of what she was going through herself,” said Carol’s son, Charles Miller.
In fact, he said his mother was still working to help others up until the moment she died.
“That day was a day of one of her plasma donations and she was on her way back home from that,” said Charles.
For the last two years, on a regular basis, Charles said his mother has been donating plasma or blood and trying to find ways to help others through various organizations.
“She was more worried about other people than herself, so whatever she could do out of her way to help someone, she would do,” Charles said.
According to her son, Carol was an Army veteran, a talented woodworker, a skilled artist and an avid jewelry maker — a jack of all trades. Although she was unable to work due to an accident, Charles said she couldn’t be stopped when it came to creating her latest project or working to fix something.
“If it was something that she could take apart to understand it better, she was one of those people that ‘don’t explain it to me, give it to me,'” Charles explained.
He said his mom would even help him with his own projects, something he will forever be grateful for.
Charles said he is her only son, and although he worked to take care of her, it was often his mother who worked to make sure everyone else was taken care of. He still can’t comprehend how someone could leave the scene of the crash without helping her.
“You’re responsible for your own actions,” said Charles. “The fact that you did not stop, give aid and proceeded to run and go into hiding, that is not a good sign of your own respect for your fellow people.”
On Saturday, IMPD issued an alert, asking the public for its help in locating a suspect vehicle, described as a 2013-2014 Chevrolet Cruze, believed to be Atlantis Blue Metallic in color, with a blue/gray appearance.
Police said, the vehicle should have damage including a missing passenger side mirror, shattered windshield, and a broken passenger side headlight. On Sunday, IMPD announced with the help of the community and Southeast District officers who spotted the vehicle, it was located.
“In this specific case, the information that we received from our community as well as the swift response from our Southeast District Officers, were the result of us locating this vehicle and allowing us to move to the next phase in their investigation,” said IMPD Officer Samone Burris.
“This instance, this case, is just another example of our community working with our detectives to ensure they have a safe community and people that are violators of crime, violators of the law will be held accountable and responsible in our community,” Burris said.
While no arrests have been announced, Charles said all he wants is to see the person responsible, held accountable for their actions.
“Everybody’s out there. Even if you don’t know them, you should still have an obligation to yourself to know that you did something right. You don’t have to know them to do something right,” he said.
Burris reminds, not only is it the law to stop if you’re involved in an accident, but it’s also the right thing to do.
“Any time we have a fatal hit-and-run accident, or a hit-and-run accident in general, the message that we have for our community is, one, stop. Always stop,” said Burris. “Before you think about fleeing the scene, stop because you will be held accountable.”
She also wants to remind, that on the other side of these actions are a grieving family, and in Friday’s case where there were several deadly crashes, including more than one hit-and-run, several grieving families.
“It’s a person. That’s a life. That’s an individual that’s a mom, that’s a son, that’s a brother, a grandmother,” said Burris.
“I feel sorry for all of the families. I know what you’re going through,” said Charles.
“These individuals are loved by people in our community, so when you hit someone, it is the right thing to do. It is the sensible thing to do. Don’t think about the consequences that you may or may not face. You are striking a human being and we need you to stop right away and contact 911,” Burris said.
There’s always a chance a person could face even more significant consequences for fleeing the scene of any crash.
“When people are involved in an accident. That’s exactly what it is. It’s an accident. Whatever the circumstances that surround it, detectives will get to the bottom of that, but when you take it upon yourself to flee that scene, then you put yourself in a bigger predicament where you now face potential criminal charges because you decided to flee,” said Burris.
She hopes this conversation will open the door to an even bigger one that will encourage change in the community.
“You have to think about others, and I think if we continue to put ourselves in the shoes and we consider others in the community before ourselves, I think we will get a better response in people stopping when these incidents happen,” said Burris.
Police continue to investigate Friday’s hit-and-run and no arrests have been made.
Anyone with additional information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at (317) 262-TIPS or IMPD Crash investigations Office at (317) 327-6549.