Eight months after her death, Christine Smith’s family can’t find peace.
In a double tragedy, Christine was killed by what witnesses call a hit and run driver, now family members say they’re being conned out of hundreds of dollars by a couple who promised to help.
When Dominick and Kiara Smith`s mother was killed last year, neighbors living near What Cheer pitched in to make sure the children had a good future.
They even held a fundraiser in nearby Sigourney. Now the kids’ father says the people who organized the fundraiser have stolen all the money.
Christine Smith was walking to a friend’s home in What Cheer when she was hit and killed by what witnesses called a speeding van.
The impact was so powerful, it knocked her right out of some of her clothing.
The driver, 15-year old Adam Gragg, kept on going. He drove to the fire department where his father worked instead of checking on Smith. Police say there were no skid marks, Gragg didn`t even try to stop.
The 15-year old was only charged with a license infraction in what the family says is the first injustice they had to endure.
“For a company, business to take money from three kids who just lost their mother, it`s ridiculous,’ says father, Todd Smith.
The owners of Midnight Express, Kevin Dillon and Miranda Grooters, say they are not going to turn over the money because they heard Smith`s ex-husband, who is the executor of her estate, had planned to use it for a vacation.
“That wasn`t my plan, I didn`t know of a vacation. It would be nice but that`s not my plans for the money. The money is to go in savings for college, first car, whatever the kids would like to use it for,” explains Todd.
Dillon and Grooters are truck drivers and were out of the state so they weren`t able to comment on camera. But in a phone interview, Grooters said, “It`s nobody`s business what we do with the money, it`s up to us what we do with the money.”
Grooters says she plans to set up a trust for the children but in the past eight months, she just hasn`t had the time.
Smith believes his children, and all the people who donated money for them, got ripped off, “I do believe they stole it. I believe we will have a terrible time trying to get it.”
The owners of Oskaloosa-based Midnight Express DJ Service say they only raised $700 but Smith believes much more was raised.
He plans to file criminal charges.