Death of grandpa in wheelchair after hit-and-run devastates family

Roger Roska. (Photo Provided/Roska Family)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Marion County Coroner’s Officer has identified Roger Roska, 72, as the disabled man killed Wednesday night on West Morris Street in a hit-and-run accident.

Thursday afternoon, Nov. 2, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers released a description of a suspect vehicle, saying they believe the driver responsible was in a Dodge Ram pickup from model years 1994-2002. Officers did not indicate the color of the truck.

On Monday, Nov. 6, police issued a news release that said, in part: “The suspect vehicle is described as ¬†dark in color, 1994-2002 Dodge Ram, which had a camper shell at the time of the crash. Detectives believe that there will be damage to the front passenger side, including the grill.”

The accident happened at 7:40 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, in the 2500 block of West Morris, near the intersection with South Tremont Street, according to police. They said Roska was traveling west in his electric wheelchair on the right side of the road when he was struck and thrown from the road. The 2500 block of West Morris has streetlights but no sidewalk.

Roska’s family members said they are devastated, noting how it especially hurt to discover their dad or grandpa was found almost an hour after the accident facedown in a mud puddle.

“That even devastated my mom even more,” said Raymond Roska, Roger’s grandson. “I don’t know what to say or what to do. It’s hurt us real bad.”

Raymond described his grandpa as kind and caring, saying he always tried to do the right thing.

“Just here recently, he started getting real true bonds with his great grandkids,” Raymond said. “My grandfather has taught me a lot.”

Raymond spoke for his family, giving this message to the driver.

“The only thing I want the driver to know is you could have called 911 and still ran off yourself and had that man some type of emergency help to where he was all right and in better shape than he was just besides laying in a mud puddle. And that was wrong of you,” he said. “If you don’t mind coming forward, we’ll forgive you, whatever the case is, but I also know you won’t because you’re scared of the law.”

Neighbors say West Morris Street is a road Roger Roska traveled frequently.

“He always worried that he has to cross the street in a wheelchair, and I understand why, because the cars around here speed,” said Braden Schulz, assistant manager at a nearby Family Dollar store.

Schulz said he last saw Roska just four days ago. He shares the family’s shock.

“He was one of our regulars. He used to come in here all the time, shop, get snacks. And I can’t believe it, you know? Really good guy. Who would run this guy over?” said Schulz. “I was stroked that a guy like this passed.”

As IMPD officers were on the lookout for the killer, some community members were asking for safer spaces for their disabled neighbors.

“The lights on West Morris cut on and off in the mornings and the middle of the night,” Schulz said, “and I feel like if the lights were on at the time, he would be alive today.”

“We’ve got to figure out something to put sidewalks through that area because it’s too dangerous. It’s just way too dangerous for anybody to be walking down or even riding a scooter down there,” Raymond Roska said.

If you have any information about the hit-and-run accident, including access to surveillance video in that area, please call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana. Its hotline is open 24 hours a day at 317-262-8477.