Hit and run turns into death investigation

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Mary Milz/Eyewitness News

Marion County - Indianapolis Metro Police trying to determine why a man wielding a hammer was thrown from his own car Monday night and who was behind the wheel at the time.

Robert D. McClurg, 49, died of severe head injuries following the incident. It happened at West 40th and Graceland just after 9:00 pm Monday.

"We heard screeching tires," said one witness. The witness then saw "a guy on the hood beating the windshield in with his hammer."

Indianapolis Metro Police Sgt. Matt Mount said when the car stopped, McClurg was thrown from the 1999 Olds Alero.  Mount said the driver got out and ran away. The car was not his, but McClurg's.  

"Right now it's a death investigation and possible homicide.  We don't know what the motive was in this. We don't know if he was involved in a fight with a guy inside the vehicle or if the guy was trying to take the vehicle," said Mount.

Mount said McClurg was no stranger to police. "We know Mr. McClurg had numerous prior arrests for vehicle thefts and drug-related charges," Sgt. Mount said.

Police hope a security camera a block away may have recorded at least part of the incident.  They're also hoping witnesses might help lead them to the driver.

"If this was a case of a fight between two friends, we're hoping whoever was driving can spell it out for us. Because if not, it looks like he meant to do harm to the individual," Sgt. Mount.

Nearby residents said they were unnerved by what happened. Justin Green, who moved into the neighborhood four months ago, is rattled.

"I don't get scared easily, but when you come home and see 30 cops up and down the street and crime scene tape, it tends to scare you," he said.

Yolanda Bess agreed. "To hear what happened is horrible and devastating. It's always so peaceful and calm here and what happened is tragic."