INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis family is pleading for help finding the driver responsible for a deadly hit-and-run on the city’s northeast side.

The case reflects a deadly trend on Indy streets.

Walking along a wooded stretch of East Fall Creek Parkway on May 18 of 2021, 28-year-old Xavier Smith lost his life.

“It’s just been a year of uncertainty,” said the victim’s grandmother, Connie Rudolph. “It’s been sleepless nights and very, very hard days.”

Smith worked for a local moving company and lived with his grandmother at the time of his death.

“Even though he was my grandson, he was my baby. We were very, very close,” said Rudolph.

(Photo provided of Xavier Smith)

Police believe Smith was hit by two vehicles. The first driver got out to check on him. Smith was awake, sitting up and talking, but the driver couldn’t find his phone, so he went to get help and call 9-1-1, the driver said.

After the first driver ran to get help, a second driver hit and killed Smith.

Based on evidence at the scene, police believe the second driver fled in a silver Nissan Pathfinder.

(Stock photo of Nissan Pathfinder provided by IMPD)

“You’re gonna be a lot more trouble by not staying on the scene,” said IMPD officer William Young about the case last year.

Over the years, IMPD has repeatedly encouraged drivers to stay on scene following a crash, yet last year the department investigated 20 fatal hit-and-run crashes, which is the highest number in recent years.

“I just want drivers to pay attention,” said Rudolph.

Connie shares IMPD’s advice and wants whoever killed her grandson to be held accountable.

“Whatever I find out is not going to bring my grandson back, but it will give me a little closure,” said Rudolph.

Nearly half of last year’s fatal hit-and-run cases remain unsolved.

Anyone with information on any of those cases is asked to contact either IMPD or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS.