Baylor community reacts to arrest made in hit-and-run case

David Grotberg, 19, was a sophomore at Baylor and had been riding a bicycle in October 2016 on Franklin Avenue around 10 p.m. when he was struck by a car, which fled the scene. Waco Police arrested Tammy Blankenship Harlan, 51, on Tuesday and has been charged with failure to stop and render aid in the hit-and-run accident that killed Grotberg. Photo courtesy of Baylor University

By Cameron Stuart | Reporter

Waco Police arrested Tammy Blankenship Harlan, 51, on Tuesday, and she has been charged with failure to stop and render aid in the hit-and-run accident that killed former Baylor student David Grotberg in October 2016.

David Grotberg’s father, Clark Grotberg, praised the Waco Police Department on behalf of his family for their efforts in the case.

“We just want to thank the Waco Police,” Clark Grotberg said. “They have done such hard work on behalf of our son.”

David Grotberg’s friend, Katy senior Jamie Wheeler, echoed a similar sentiment.

“All I have to say at this time is that we’re grateful for the hard work of the Waco Police,” Wheeler said.

The Waco police got tipped off about Harlan from an anonymous letter which stated Harlan “was speeding and had been drinking when she struck David Grotberg with her vehicle and did not stop to check on him,” according to the warrant for Harlan’s arrest.

The accident occurred on the night of Oct. 6, 2016, when David Grotberg was riding his bicycle on Franklin Avenue with his girlfriend. The fatal accident happened shortly before 10 p.m.

Now, a little over two years after the accident happened, Waco police Sgt. Patrick Swanton says this extended investigation is not out of the ordinary.

“There is never a ‘normal’ timetable for these kinds of cases, they could take hours or they could take years,” Swanton said. “All the credit has to go the tenacity of our detectives and working with the information we were given.”

Police were able to obtain phone records from Harlan, which pin-pointed her location to the area of the accident on the night in question just before 10 p.m. Police also found blood inside her passenger side mirror housing and under the front windshield, according to the warrant. The DNA tested was inconclusive but photos of the car when it was taken in for repairs at Service King in Waco were consistent with that of a car hitting a bicycle. Harlan brought it into the repair shop claiming she had hit a stop sign on University Parks Dr. but had feared she might have struck a homeless person, according to the warrant.

Harlan faces a second degree felony with the failure to stop and render aid charge. She was released from jail Tuesday after posting a $20,000 bond.

Grotberg’s legacy at Baylor lives on through the David Grotberg Golden Wave Band Endowed Scholarship Fund.