CLYDE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — An Allegan County woman was hospitalized Saturday after being hit by a car south of Fennville.
The driver left 88-year-old Jean Beaty along the side of the road, seriously injured.
Beaty’s family told News 8 Monday that she had numerous fractures and contusions but that she was in stable condition at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.
“She was my best friend,” neighbor Marie Maas said of Beaty.
“We treated her like a mom,” her husband Paul Maas added.
Every morning, the Maases welcome Beaty into their home for coffee. Sometimes they go out for breakfast.
“Very loving, very caring. All of the time very caring,” Marie Maas described.
“Always in a good mood,” her husband said.
The crash happened on 117th Avenue west of 56th Street in rural Clyde Township. Beaty takes daily walks in that area, regardless of the weather.
On Saturday afternoon, a passerby found her lying partially in the road. Despite her injuries, Beaty was able to tell the good Samaritan where she lived.
The initial assumption was that she fell during her walk, but doctors later told her family her injuries are consistent with being hit by a vehicle.
The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office has little to go on in its investigation. There were no witnesses and Beaty can’t recall much of what happened.
But investigators do know some things, like about when it happened. Beaty was discovered by the good Samaritan around 4:30 p.m. and a deputy had passed her walking about 20 minutes earlier. Evidence shows the vehicle was eastbound when it hit her and investigators say it might have damage to the passenger’s side.
What they don’t know is why Beaty was hit.
“Bright and sunny, clear. No weather-related problems. Should have easily been able to see her,” Allegan County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Chris Kuhn noted.
He said it’s too early to speculate on possible charges.
“We want to hear what happened. We want to hear (the driver’s) side of the story and then we can work things out,” Kuhn said.
He said it may not be the suspect coming forward that breaks the case.
“Somebody who notices something wrong with a car or hears an off-handed statement (like), ‘Hey, I thought I hit a garbage can last night or yesterday,'” he said. “Those are the types of pieces of information that we need to know, because we can then put all of that information together and see how it connects the dots to lead us to who is responsible.”
The Maases believe the person who hit Beaty panicked over the trouble they would be in and took off.
“That’s not an excuse,” Paul Maas said.
“It’s not an excuse. It’s just cold-hearted not to care,” his wife said.
But they have a message for the driver:
“Please don’t let this linger inside of you,” Marie Maas said. “You’ve got to have a conscience.”
Kuhn says any information, even if you think it’s not significant, could be key to helping solve the case. If you know anything about what happened, you can call the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office at 269.673.0500, extension 4355, or Silent Observer at 1.800.554.3633.
**CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the crash happened Sunday. It has been corrected to show that it happened Saturday.