FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 19, 2017


Media Contact: Vicki Elaine Becker (574) 296-1888

On August 26, 2017 our community suffered a severe tragedy in which many lives were forever changed. Shawn Wolcott, 22, of Elkhart, was killed. Bradley Smith, 22, of Elkhart, was gravely injured, and his daughter Dolly, 8 months old, was killed. Brad’s sister Courtney Smith, 11, of Elkhart, was killed. Allison Smith, 22, of Elkhart, was also injured. The police have been diligently doing their job to complete a thorough investigation and preserve the integrity of the evidence that will be material to proving this case in the criminal justice system despite the bevy of social media commentary.

This case, nor any case, can be tried on Facebook, or in the media. This case will proceed through the Criminal Justice system with respect for the Constitution, and the laws of the State of Indiana which protect the Due Process rights of every accused person in this great country.

Today, I filed formal criminal charges against Penelope A. Grosswiler, 40, and Leonard J. Grossweiler, 42, both of Elkhart, which begins the formal court process of seeking justice. These charges allege that Penelope Grosswiler was driving the vehicle that struck all of the victims and left the scene, then attempting to hide evidence of the crime. She is being charged with: three (3) counts of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death, all Level 5 felonies; one (1) count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, a Level 6 felony; one (1) count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Injury, a Class A misdemeanor; and, one (1) count of Obstruction of Justice, a Level 6 felony.

Her husband, Leonard J. Grosswiler, is charged with one (1) count of Obstruction of Justice, a Level 6 felony, alleging he attempted to hide evidence of Penelope’s crime. Both Penelope and Leonard remain innocent until proven guilty.

As I have previously indicated, this investigation consists of witness statements, and a significant amount of additional investigation in an attempt to corroborate or contradict the information that has been collected. Efforts to locate and document this collateral information are imperative and take significant time as forensic analysis, location of additional possible witnesses and evidence, and other means of corroboration, are pursued. Unlike the public commentary that is so prevalent right now, the State may only rely upon evidence that is admissible in a court of law, and subject to cross-examination to demonstrate its credibility.

Accordingly, when it is time for the case to proceed to trial, the evidence will fully come to public knowledge. Until then, we are very limited in what can, and should, be released. What I will disclose, and which is in the formal Affidavit of Probable Cause in support of these cases, is that two witnesses identify the driver of the vehicle as a female. After Leonard Grosswiler contacted fellow employees at his place of work with a false story as to why his vehicle was left at that location, those employees discovered the subject vehicle and immediately contacted police. Further investigation led to Leonard Grosswiler’s wife, Penelope, who gave multiple inconsistent versions of her actions of August 26, 2017. A review of cellular telephone records, internet records, and information from a company that produces a specific software application documented that Penelope’s versions were false. In fact, these records provided significant evidence in documenting that both Leonard and Penelope’s cellular telephones were travelling down Beardsley Avenue at the time the Smith family and friends were hit, injured, and killed.

I have charged this case based upon a very critical review of the evidence in conjunction with Indiana law. If any additional evidence comes to light that is deemed to be credible and reliable, it will also be considered as we move forward.

As I am limited by the Rules of Professional Conduct as to disclosures of evidence I am allowed to make in pre-trial publicity, further evidence will have to come to light at trial, not here. I am providing this information at this time as we are ready to move the process forward in the proper judicial setting. Once the Court has reviewed the charges, warrants will likely issue bringing Mr. and Mrs. Grosswiler into Court to be apprised of the charges, their rights, deadlines, and possible penalties. Penelope Grosswiler is facing a possible maximum sentence of 21 ½ years of imprisonment, and a minimum of no time in prison at all. Leonard Grosswiler is facing a possible maximum sentence of 2 ½ years imprisonment and a minimum of no time in prison at all. Each could face a maximum fine of $10,000. The Court and the State are bound to these possible sentences based upon the current status of Indiana law.


****“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”****