CLEVELAND (WJW) — Elijah Knipe had big dreams and the right attitude to achieve them according to his Uncle, Dwight Knipe.
“He had a smile that could light up a room. He just had a spirit that was always positive and always with those dimples that he got from his mom,” said Dwight.
On Dec. 4, 2021, a tragedy changed everything.
Dwight says he had just gotten off work, tired after sitting in a long traffic jam on I-90.
“I just remember thinking like, ‘Oh my God, I just want to get home because I have to do this long shift all over again,’” shared Dwight.
All of a sudden, Dwight’s phone rang with unthinkable news.
“It turned out this time, it was my loved one. Our loved one and it was definitely just a tough day,” explained Dwight
Dwight says his nephew, Elijiah was driving westbound on I-90, when he lost control of his pickup truck and struck a median.
As Elijah was trying to climb out of his truck, a woman driving on the interstate struck his vehicle, propelling Elijah onto the other side of the highway. That’s when a car, described as a light-colored ford fusion, ran over Elijah.
“From that day, I just took it away … when you are being inconvenienced a little bit … you don’t know who or what might be on the side of the road. Like, it’s taught me to be more patient in traffic because you just never know,” said Dwight.
It is the family’s belief that Elijah was killed on impact and the driver responsible, fled the scene.
“We know that that wasn’t on purpose. Like, we know that is not what you intended to do, but leaving the scene of an accident is something that doesn’t sit well with us because we don’t know exactly what happened,” explained Dwight
In the nine months that have passed, Dwight says that the driver has never been found.
“We forgive you; we are a forgiving family. If Elijah was here, he’d say the same thing. That he forgives you,” said Dwight.
But by speaking out, the family hopes it will lead to justice for their loved one and closure for them.
“We don’t blame you. We know you were just at the wrong place, at the wrong time. We just want to know what really happened to Elijah in his final moments,” shared Dwight.
The family is offering a $10,000 reward for anyone who has pertinent information leading to an arrest and a GoFundMe page has been established.