Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Who struck my son on May 12, 2006, in Faribault and then drove away? May 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:47 AM
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I have a file thick with information related to my son's hit-and-run. The file includes newspaper clippings, e-mail correspondence with the police, medical and insurance papers, get well cards and more.

EVEN AFTER FOUR YEARS I still hear the questions: “Did they ever catch the driver? How is your son doing?”

I’ll be at the grocery store, a garage sale, the library, when an acquaintance, out of the blue, asks. That interest all these years later catches me by surprise; people, clearly, have not forgotten.

Four years ago today on May 12, a cold and drizzly Friday morning much like today, my then 12-year-old son was struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street to his school bus stop in Faribault.

Caleb was not seriously injured considering that he bounced off a car, flew through the air and landed in the street. He suffered a broken bone in his hand, a possible fractured rib and bumps and bruises. However, the long-term affects on his health remain unknown.

Four years later, Faribault police are no closer to solving the crime than they were in 2006.

Initially, several tips came in to the police department. Once, my hopes were raised when a suspect was named in an anonymous letter. That turned out to be an issue of alleged harassment by one person against another and had nothing to do with my son’s case.

Police have checked out vehicles matching the description of the blue 4-door car, possibly a Chevrolet Cavalier or Corsica. Once they even met with a prisoner regarding a car that fit the crime.  All leads have dead-ended.

No one has stepped forward with concrete evidence that ties a driver to the scene near my home, even though a $1,000 reward was initially offered in the case.

I am surprised, really, that the driver who struck my son and then drove away has not talked or confessed. I cannot imagine the guilt of carrying that secret.

While, early on, I was angry and wanted nothing more than to find the driver and hold him/her accountable, now I am more interested in hearing “why.” I want to ask, “Why did you drive away, leaving my boy, my only son, lying there? How could you?” As a mother, I find that action unfathomable.

The police have always contended that the driver had something to hide, a strong reason to continue driving.

I would like answers, and, yes, in all honesty, accountability.

#

A POEM THAT I’ve written related to my son’s hit-and-run recently earned honorable mention in a state-wide competition. Hit-and-Run will publish in The Talking Stick, Volume Nineteen, Forgotten Roads, due out in August from the northern Minnesota based Jackpine Writers’ Bloc. My poem finished in the top seven among more than 200 poems submitted in this literary journal competition.

Although the subtitle was not chosen because of my poem, I find Forgotten Roads quite fitting for an anthology that includes Hit-and-Run.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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5 Responses to “Who struck my son on May 12, 2006, in Faribault and then drove away?”

  1. Michael Says:

    Or perhaps it’s someone who just didn’t see it and thus cannot remember.
    About a year ago a lady pulled out in front of my daughter as she drove down 169. My daughter could not stop and hit her car right by the drivers side front tire. The cars hit hard and bounced away from each other, but not hard enough for air bags to deploy. As she got out to check on the damage, the car just drove off. Witnesses were astounded that she was leaving the scene.
    The police found the lady about a mile down the road wondering why she had a flat tire. She had no knowledge of having even been in an accident.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Michael, I had never really thought of this possibility, that the driver did not realize he/she struck my son. I find that unlikely. How could you not hear the thwump against your car or see a child flying through the air? Also, how would the driver then account for damage to his/her car?

      But I suppose anything is possible, or any excuse is possible.

      I’m just eternally thankful that my son was not seriously injured or killed.

      Thank you for reading Minnesota Prairie Roots and for taking time to comment. I appreciate that. I also checked out your blog and see that you hail from southwestern Minnesota, where I grew up.

      • Michael Says:

        As a school bus driver I get training every year to learn how to avoid accidents and keep my kids safe. Even with all of the flashing lights on a school bus it seems that every year we have another close call from someone who does not see the lights and signs. Every school district has them.
        We have an amazing number of people driving who should not be. There are also a lot of distracted drivers out there. Cell phones and texting are only part of the problem. People get into a vehicle and think only of themselves. As long as they are safe, nothing else matters, until someone dies.
        Every year thousands of kids leave home and never make it back. Cherish your children while you have them.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Well, said, Michael. I agree with everything you wrote. Distracted driving has certainly become a major issue with the use of cell phones. It’s downright scary. I appreciate that you are doing everything, as a school bus driver, to keep “your children” safe.

        I think all too often we take for granted that our loved ones will return safely home when they leave the house in the morning. As we all know, none of us are immune from tragedy. I was in the habit of hugging and kissing my son and telling him I loved him before he left for school. But since his hit-and-run, I hold him just a little bit closer…and always, always tell him I love him.

  2. […] A mother blogs about still not knowing who struck her 12-year-old son and ran four years ago in Faribault, Minn. I am surprised, really, that the driver who struck my son and then drove away has not talked or confessed. I cannot imagine the guilt of carrying that secret. While, early on, I was angry and wanted nothing more than to find the driver and hold him/her accountable, now I am more interested in hearing “why.” I want to ask, “Why did you drive away, leaving my boy, my only son, lying there? How could you?” As a mother, I find that action unfathomable. The police have always contended that the driver had something to hide, a strong reason to continue driving. I would like answers, and, yes, in all honesty, accountability. […]


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