BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The family of an Indiana University student who was hit and killed by an alleged drunk driver are heartbroken and outraged over their loss.
Nate Stratton's family came to Bloomington Sunday after hearing the news of Saturday's crash. The 20-year-old was hit by a car while riding an electric scooter at North Walnut and East 12th streets in Bloomington around 2 a.m. Sunday.
“The worst thing that can happen to a father or a mother is to lose your child. It is just unexplainable how painful it is,” said Stratton's father, Brad.
They said they are outraged and heartbroken.
Police arrested 22-year-old Madelyn Howard, of Crown Point, who they say was drunk when she was driving the car that struck Stratton, then drove off, stopping a half-mile away when bystanders pointed out that she was dragging an electric scooter under the car.
“She didn’t just hurt our family, there are a lot of kids on this campus who are hurting right now, and there are a lot of kids hurting back home in Minnesota,” said Stratton's older sister, Abby.
Stratton was a junior at IU, studying business on a dean’s scholarship. He came to Bloomington with his best friend.
“He is the most compassionate and empathetic person,” said another of his sisters, Ceci.
At the time of the accident, Stratton's family was in Colorado when they noticed that their diabetic son’s system was not recording his blood sugar. That’s when they FaceTimed him, and a police officer answered.
They said they didn’t know it was an alleged drunk driver until they arrived in town.
“The fact that she was inebriated makes it so much worse. We lost my grandfather that way, and it makes it unexplainably more devastating,” Abby said.
They also say it’s infuriating that the driver never attempted to stop.
“That’s not excusable, and she should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for that alone,” his father said.
Adding to their frustration, the family learned Monday morning that Howard was released from jail on a $2,000 bond less than 24 hours after their loved one was killed.
“He’s the greatest kid ever, and he’s gone. I can’t ski with him anymore. I can’t see him grow up. I can’t see him get married. Somebody else took that away from me,” his father said.
That night, Stratton's family said he was only a block-and-a-half away from his apartment.
On Sept. 21, court records indicated Howard was formally charged in the case.
She now is charged with reckless homicide, leaving the scene of an accident and and causing death while driving under the influence. An initial hearing was set for Sept. 23 at 1 p.m.
Nate's family is planning a vigil in his honor Thursday at 7 p.m.