Woman arrested for fatal hit and run of man in wheel chair


Metro Police have made an arrest in the deadly hit-and-run crash that killed a man in a wheelchair Wednesday night.

Witnesses told investigators, the victim was crossing West Washington St., near Elder, when a white vehicle struck him and drove off.

Police identified the victim as 73-year-old Danny Mikesell of Indianapolis.

At the Workingman's Friend, Danny was a regular – not inside the restaurant, but outside on the street.

"He's someone we see every day," explained waitress Shelley Groover. "Any given day, you would see Dan strolling along picking up trash, making things better."

He was the guy everyone knew for keeping the neighborhood clean.

Danny Mikesell: 73 years old, father, grandfather and Marine veteran. He'd lost one of his legs to diabetes and had been in a wheelchair for nearly 25 years.

Friends and family say he wasn't afraid to roll his wheelchair along city streets, if it meant picking up what others discarded.

He meant something to people in this near west side neighborhood.

"He meant something to all of us really, because you know when you see somebody every day, you worry about him, you look after him and he did a good thing every day," Groover said.

People did worry about Danny out along the curb here.

"People don't look all the time, so we were always worried about something happening," Grover explained.

And it did, Wednesday night.

"I kind of put it together, oh my God - that was Dan," Groover said.

"A friend came over and he said Danny just got hit down there," said Danny's longtime companion, Anna Knight, "I said, 'Oh my God, no'."

Danny was struck in his wheelchair by a hit-and-run driver.

Knight said he'd just gone out to the convenience store when it happened. He died at the hospital.

"Besides my kids, he was my life. This is gonna take me awhile to get over it," Knight said.

Police say he was struck by a woman who shouldn't have even been behind the wheel.

35-year-old Brandie Thompson was arrested Thursday.

A witness wrote down her license plate after the crash and police tracked her down. Police say Thompson was driving with a suspended license.

Records show a history of arrests, including DUI and driving while suspended.

"I don't understand it," Knight said. "I say where was your head, woman? The guy's in the wheelchair. Not just that, he's a good guy!"

He was a guy who had a hard life, but friends say he gave what he could.

Danny was killed, on the very streets he worked so hard to clean up. 

"We'll miss him. We'll miss him a lot," Groover said.

Brandie Thompson is now facing several charges, including failure to stop after a deadly accident and driving with a suspended license.

In 2012, there were 4,227 hit-and-run crashes in Indianapolis. 515 of those had injuries and eight were fatal.

Through October 3rd (today) of 2013, there have been 2,969 hit-and-run crashes. 316 have included injuries with nine fatalities.