Grotberg leaves lasting legacy at Baylor

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 she 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 | Radio Director

Almost two and a half years after a hit-and-run accident killed former Baylor student David Grotberg, his legacy lives on strongly at the school he only attended for 14 months.

51-year old Tammy Blankenship Harlan was arrested Tuesday and charged with failure to stop and render aid in the accident that resulted in Grotberg’s death. Waco police were tipped off to Harlan by an anonymous letter and she was released Tuesday night after making a $20,000 bond. Police were able to obtain her cell phone records to locate her to the area where Grotberg was hit around the time of the crash and found blood on the inside of the passenger side mirror.

During his brief time at Baylor, Grotberg was involved in various campus activities. He was in the Golden Wave Band as well as being a member of the Honors College and the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core.

Joy Moton, who covered the accident and the Grotberg story as a staff writer for the Baylor Lariat in 2016 and 2017, got to experience his legacy through her coverage of him.

“His story is the most important one I’ve written,” Moton said. “I feel honored to have been able to share his legacy through writing. I hope that others continue to share his legacy in their own unique ways.”

One of Grotberg’s professors, Dr. Stacey Hibbs, said she shared a special bond with Grotberg through a family connection. Not only did she have Grotberg in two of her classes, but Grotberg’s mother was a student of Hibbs’ husband, Thomas Hibbs, while she was at Boston College. Thomas Hibbs is now the dean of the Honors College.

“The loss was acutely felt by everyone,” Stacey Hibbs said. “It was only lessened by the great grace of his family – they visited my classroom and sat with David’s classmates, they established an endowed scholarship in his honor, and they have kept in close contact with David’s friends.”

The David Grotberg Golden Wave Band Endowed Scholarship is awarded to Baylor students who attend the Honors College and had been homeschooled, like Grotberg had.

Stacey Hibbs still remains close to the Grotberg family, even with the nearly 1,200-mile distance between the Grotberg’s home of Fergus Falls, Minn., and Baylor.

“The family has told me they actually hope some of their other children will attend Baylor,” Stacey Hibbs said. “There is a legacy that could potentially live on through other Grotbergs too.”

Monday, March 11, would have been Grotberg’s 22nd birthday.