Police ask for public’s help in special hit-and-run case

MILWAUKEE — A hit-and-run driver hit a former member of the Milwaukee Police Department. Now, MPD is asking for the public’s help to find the culprit.

Pete Sobotta was working near 1st and Water St. on Sunday night, May 27th when just before midnight, a car came out of nowhere and crashed into his horse-drawn carriage.

“They said I rolled four or five times. I don’t remember any of that. All I remember is waking up facing down on the street and I couldn’t feel my legs at the time,” Sobotta said.

Luckily, the worst Sobotta ended up with was a bruised lung. However, his horse, Smokey, was also injured in the hit-and-run — and actually ran from the scene. The horse ended up going back to his stable.

When Milwaukee Mounted Officer Stephen White heard about the incident, he jumped to the aid of a former brother in blue.

“Smokey used to be one of the police horses also, so he’s family,” White said.

Now, Milwaukee’s Mounted Division is searching for a green car with possible front-end, driver-side damage. They’re asking the public for help in their search, but they’re also hoping the driver will come forward on his own.

“Any driver that’s ever did a hit and run, their first instinct is to be scared. After a couple days they calm down, they say ‘Okay, yeah, I did something,’ and they usually turn theirself in,” White said.

Milwaukee police have very few witnesses and no video of the crash. They’re hoping the description of the green car with possible damage will lead to the driver.

As for Sobotta, he’s hoping others will learn from what happened to him late Sunday night.

“People that are coming up behind us and revving their motorcycle engines, honking their horns, yelling at the horses, understand that not only are you putting the horse in danger but you’re also putting the driver and potentially other people in the public in danger,” Sobotta said.

Anyone with information into this incident is asked to contact Milwaukee police.

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