MILWAUKEE -- Charges were filed Tuesday, Jan. 13 against a Milwaukee man accused of striking a Hartford family with a vehicle prosecutors said was rented by his mother outside Fiserv Forum in November. Prosecutors said data from Christopher Covington's phone, including Instagram videos, placed him in the driver's seat at the location of the crash at the time it happened. According to prosecutors, Covington's mother and a front-seat passenger told investigators he fled because he was wanted by police.
In mid-December, the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office said there would be no charges in the case because they were unable to determine who was driving.
The victims were frustrated by that decision -- worried they may never get justice -- and worried others could end up in the same situation if people who don't obey traffic laws aren't held accountable. At that time, police said a man and woman, both 21, were taken into custody as persons of interest.
Covington faces four counts of hit-and-run, injury, habitual criminality repeater -- charges that brought relief to Danielle Eager.
"It's a good feeling to know that someone that does something so horrific is going to pay for their actions," said Danielle Eager.
The crash happened at 6:05 p.m. near 6th Street and Juneau Avenue on Nov. 9 -- as the Eager family, Tony Eager, Danielle Eager, 8-year-old Brayson Eager, and 5-year-old Dayton Eager headed to Fiserv Forum to see Jurassic World. It was the one and only time they planned on coming to Milwaukee in 2019 from their home in Hartford. Danielle Eager pushed her children out of the way -- taking the brunt of the impact -- jumping over her children to protect them. Tony Eager chased after the fleeing vehicle and was able to get a good look at the make and model and obtain a partial license plate number.
The criminal complaint said an officer inside Fiserv Forum saw several people run across the street, and then heard people yelling about pedestrians being struck. A 5-year-old boy was found unconscious in the street. Citizens were tending to him. An 8-year-old boy was found in the median with a leg injury. The children's mother was found on the ground, crying, with a leg injury. The father said they were struck while crossing in the crosswalk by a silver vehicle with Texas plates, including the letters, KCV. He said they were not quite halfway to the median when the silver vehicle started coming at them. He said he saw his wife fall off the hood of the vehicle -- which pulled over momentarily before speeding off. The victims were taken to the hospital.
"They're doing a lot better physically, but emotionally, it's still an everyday thing," said Danielle Eager of her boys on Tuesday. "They still talk about it every day."
Surveillance video showed the striking vehicle stopped at a red light at 6th and Juneau, the complaint said. According to prosecutors, the driver turned into the path of the family after entering the intersection to turn left when the light turned green. The driver stopped momentarily before taking off.
Investigators ran a check of vehicles with Texas plates that included the letters, KCV -- heading over to Hertz at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, where they learned a Chevy Malibu had been rented and was due back on Nov. 8. It was rented by Covington's mother, according to the complaint. It was found parked near 69th Street and Fiebrantz Avenue.
Covington's mother told investigators her son had borrowed the vehicle and said if he was involved in a crash and didn't pull over, it's because he has a warrant, the complaint said.
Covington was interviewed by investigators on Nov. 11, and the complaint said he offered several different versions of events, including that a friend was driving and he was asleep in the back.
"It just shows that this guy has no remorse for what he did," said Danielle Eager. "I understand accidents happen, but this guy still denied everything, and I could care less for anything he has to say."
An individual who indicated he was a front-seat passenger said they were going to pick up Covington's sister, and he saw the family in the intersection outside Fiserv -- and figured Covington did, too. He said after the crash, he yelled for Covington to stop, and Covington yelled back that he was "on the run" -- and fled, according to the complaint.
Investigators recovered Covintong's phone, and data from that phone showed it was in the area of the crash at the time it happened.
Additionally, the complaint said one Instagram video from the phone, recorded at 6 p.m., five minutes before the crash, showed Covington in the driver's seat, smoking a blunt. Investigators determined they were near the area of MLK Drive and North Avenue.
A second Instagram video was recorded at 6:01 p.m., the complaint said -- again showing Covington in the driver's seat, headed southbound on MLK Drive near Juneau -- in the area where the crash happened at 6:03 p.m.
"I'm glad that justice was served because this just goes to show that you can't get away with stuff like that," said Danielle Eager.
Online court records showed Covington was convicted in August 2019 of resisting or obstructing an officer. He was sentenced to 12 months' probation, with was withheld, and Covington was ordered to serve 30 days in the House of Correction conditional time with Huber release, and 25 hours of community service. Court records showed on Oct. 15, he failed to appear at the House of Correction, and his Huber/electronic monitoring privileges were revoked.
The complaint said Covington was convicted in August 2015 of maintaining a drug trafficking place.
A GoFundMe.com account was set up to help the Eager family pay medical expenses. CLICK HERE to access that account.