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