WEST ALLIS -- Charges were filed Tuesday, Oct. 15 against a West Allis man, 53, accused of fatally striking Jean Haas, 51, with his vehicle in an alley in West Allis early Friday, Oct. 11 -- and then driving to his home nearby -- never calling 911 or attempting to render aid. Prosecutors said moments later, he returned to the scene -- where he never mentioned to investigators that he was the driver in this incident, despite multiple opportunities to do so.
Christopher Grosskreuz faces one count of hit-and-run, resulting in death, for the incident that happened near 58th Street and Lincoln Avenue just after 12:15 a.m.
When police arrived, a criminal complaint said a neighbor/witness and Grosskreuz were on scene. Haas was found lying on the ground. Life-saving measures were unsuccessful. An autopsy revealed she suffered blunt force trauma.
The witness told investigators she came upon Haas and checked on her. She said she didn't find a pulse and saw blood, so she went to several nearby homes, but couldn't get help, so she drove home to get her phone to call 911. She then came upon Grosskreuz, who asked her what was going on. She informed him of the incident, and soon, the police arrived. The complaint noted Grosskreuz never mentioned hitting Haas with his vehicle during his interactions with the neighbor/witness.
According to prosecutors, Grosskreuz initially told investigators he didn't see anything and came outside when he heard his neighbor come out.
Surveillance cameras captured Haas stumbling in the alley, falling to the ground before getting up, and then falling again. The cameras also captured a Chevy HHR, which entered the alley, with the driver striking Haas, running her over, dragging her body, and leaving her in the middle of the alley, before backing into a nearby parking slab next to a garage -- which is where police later found the vehicle. The cameras then showed Grosskreuz running over to Haas' body, standing over her, walking in a circle, apparently gazing at her body, before running home. The complaint said Grosskreuz did not call 911.
The complaint said Grosskreuz told investigators he owned the Chevy HHR, but did not mention hitting anything with it. The complaint said he indicated he might be the only witness because he thought someone was breaking into his vehicle.
When Grosskreuz was informed he matched the description of the person in the surveillance video, he indicated he was informed of what happened by his neighbor, but he "became nervous," and confirmed it was possible he hit the woman, but he didn't know. He said as he drove down the alley, he heard a noise he thought was weird, and went to check what he thought was trash when he saw "her there," soon changing it to "guy/girl," and "who it was." Grosskreuz said he ran to grab his phone when he heard a loud bang and saw someone was on the phone.
In a Mirandized interview with police, Grosskreuz said he hit something in an alley, and believed he ran over garbage, according to prosecutors. When he walked down the alley, he realized it was a person, and he went home to get his phone. He then saw his neighbor, and indicated, regarding the victim: "I knew she wasn't OK."
Prosecutors noted in the complaint that without the surveillance video in this case, investigators may never have learned that Grosskreuz was the driver that killed Haas.
Neighbors, friends, and relatives lit candles and hung up photos and balloons on Sunday night in Haas' memory. Haas died feet from her driveway.
Her life, filled with tragedy, was tragically cut short. FOX6 News interviewed Haas in 2015, when she lost her 3-year-old daughter Faith in a house fire.
"It's like, not real to me, really," said Haas at the time. "I don't want to believe it. It's the worst pain I ever had. I had three miscarriages before her, so she was like, really a blessing, like, a little angel."
Over the summer, friends said she lost her 23-year-old daughter.
As loved ones gathered for the third time in less than five years, they described Haas as a devoted mother and grandmother, a sweetheart, and an all-round good person.
Grosskreuz made his initial appearance in court on Tuesday, where he received a $5,000 signature bond. A preliminary hearing was scheduled from Oct. 31.