INDIANAPOLIS — About 20 years ago, Shelby Smith died when she was hit by a drunk driver on Indianapolis' southwest side. A memorial went up in her honor, and thanks to social media, an IMPD officer gained recognition for maintaining it and keeping it clean.
Back in August, Kaleb Hall drove by and took a video of Stagg cleaning up a street corner on the city’s southwest side. He later posted the video to TikTok.
That's when Jeff Stagg started to get texts from colleagues about the video.
"It's right in the middle of my beat assignment and I was not going to let her death be forgotten and the memorial go unattended," Stagg said.
Stagg said he was not on duty the day she died, but later saw two of her friends put up a memorial. Since then, he's kept an eye on it, especially in the last few years.
Hall made a point to thank him for his service, and the video reached Smith's mother, Sherri, who also called Stagg to thank him. She also wanted to thank him in person, and on Monday, she got her chance.
"This is awesome to meet you face-to-face," Stagg said in a touching moment as he approached Sherri Monday.
"I am so excited. I've been thinking about it ever since the day we spoke on the phone," Sherri said.
Stagg also kept some items from the memorial that have broken or weathered since he's been keeping an eye on it. Sherri recognized the items immediately.
A scholarship is established in Shelby Smith's name with the Hendricks County Community Foundation.