EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A fatal hit-and-run crash last week left families confused about who died, and what police are doing about it.
It happened in the early morning hours of Monday, May 22. A pick-up truck reportedly ran a red light on Highway 3 at 8th street and hit a Ford Escape. Justin Stewart suffered serious injuries. His sister, Nichole Kent, was killed.
“She was really just a good, kind-hearted person,” Ashley Stewart, Nichole’s sister, said. “She didn’t deserve this at all.”
Ashley and her mother, Cynthia Mobley, are numb.
“Nichole was very special. She was unique. She was loyal,” Mobley said.
Their grief is compounded by the suspect running off, and an unexpected response from authorities. They said the hospital told them a different family member had died; someone who was not even in the car.
They began to figure it out when they saw Nichole’s car on FOX 2 and could not reach her.
Ashley described, “…running around everywhere looking for my sister.”
“I told the city morgue that they have an identity problem,” Mobley said. “I told her you need to look at that body you have down there and tell me if it has a sleeve tattoo. I said, ‘And there’s going to be a flower on one side,’ and she says, ‘a Hello Kitty.’ And I said, ‘You’ve got Nichole Kent.’”
FOX 2 reached out to Saint Louis University Hospital via email and phone for a response.
“I didn’t get why that would be. I guess my sister or somebody had her ID,” Ashley said. “She lost her ID a couple months back, and I guess my sister and my little brother had it, and they were going to give it back to her.”
Ashley said she returned to the scene and found potential evidence still lying around, including a license plate possibly from the suspect’s truck, as well as a mysterious cell phone.
“There were pieces of her car everywhere, from one side of the highway to the other,” she said.
The unidentified phone remains locked, and waiting for officers from the East St. Louis Police Department. Mobley believes the department has already given up on solving the case.
“They’re making it sound like it’s not going to happen, because the truck was too burnt to get DNA,” she said.
FOX 2 went to the police station to get answers, but no one was available to speak with us. Meanwhile, the Illinois State Police said this is strictly a municipal investigation, and they’re not involved.
“Please contact us if you were there,” Mobley said. “If you saw (the suspect) because, from what I understand, he did not leave the scene right away.”
“I keep getting the feeling there’s still something out there,” Ashley said.