INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis family is offering up a reward to help track down a driver responsible for killing an 81-year-old in a hit-and-run on the city’s southwest side.
On a late Sunday night in early August, 81-year-old Tom Hembree lost his life standing along Mann Road near the intersection of Mooresville Road.
“It was so shocking to us. My 81-year-old uncle was killed in a hit-and-run,” Robyn Neitzel said. “Is that the way you think you’ll die at 81? It’s not.”
Robyn said her uncle Tom suffered from dementia and was on home hospice before his death.
“He was confused, obviously, with his dementia, but we think he may have been coming back home,” she said. “Almost like he realized I shouldn’t be out here and then he was hit.”
Hembree was a military veteran with a large and loving family.
IMPD said they are now looking for a 2008-2012 Chevy Malibu of unknown color, that will have front passenger and windshield damage.
“It’s tough,” Robyn said. “It’s tough knowing that person is still out there.”
So far this year, there have been 19 fatal hit-and-runs around Indianapolis. IMPD reports 9 of those cases, nearly half, remain unsolved.
“It breaks my heart,” Robyn said. “Like what’s wrong with these people? If it’s an accident, just stop.”
Tom’s family is now offering $2,000 of their own money for information that leads to an arrest of the driver responsible.
Because the 19 fatal hit-and-runs so far this year is only one shy of the total for all of last year and higher than any other recent year, the family also offered some advice for everyone who gets behind the wheel.
“Just be careful and watch what you’re doing,” Robyn said. “That’s part of being a responsible driver.”
Anyone with information on any unsolved hit-and-run is being asked to contact either IMPD or Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.