A former Midway school administrator charged in the 2016 hit-and-run crash that killed a Baylor University sophomore who was cycling on Franklin Avenue was indicted Wednesday on two felony counts.
A McLennan County grand jury indicted Tammy Renee Blankenship Harlan, 52, on second-degree felony charges of manslaughter and vehicle involved in accident/failure to stop and render aid in the death of David Grotberg, 19, a Baylor student from Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
If convicted, Harlan, former executive director of special populations and federal programs for the Midway Independent School District, faces up to 20 years in prison on each count. She was arrested in March 2019 after police received an anonymous letter implicating Harlan, almost three years after Grotberg was killed.
Harlan, who worked for Midway ISD for two years, submitted a resignation letter May 14, 2018. She wrote she wished to “pursue other opportunities,” according to her resignation letter.
Court records show no attorney has filed a letter of representation in Harlan’s case.
Grotberg was struck while riding his bicycle the night of Oct. 6, 2016, on Franklin Avenue near 32nd Street. His girlfriend was riding alongside him, but she was not injured.
According to an arrest affidavit, witnesses who saw the SUV strike Grotberg about 10 p.m. reported the vehicle was going “very fast and did not stop after striking Grotberg.”
Grotberg was studying philosophy at Baylor and played trumpet in the Golden Wave Marching Band. Members of the Waco cycling community placed a white “ghost bike” at the crash site to honor Grotberg.
His parents, Clark and Diane Grotberg, established a scholarship at Baylor in his memory.
“We are just so thankful that the Waco PD and the Waco district attorney’s office is still working on it and taking care of things,” Clark Grotberg said Wednesday after learning of Harlan’s indictment.
Waco police received an anonymous letter in September 2018 that claimed Harlan was speeding and drinking when she hit Grotberg. An informant followed the SUV the next day to Marlin, where the vehicle remained until it was repaired, according to police reports.
A search warrant for Harlan’s phone revealed she filed an insurance claim on the vehicle on Oct. 29, 2016. She said the damage was done after she hit a stop sign on University Parks Drive the previous day.
Based on the photos of Harlan’s car, police determined the damage was more consistent with a collision with a person than a stop sign. When detectives interviewed Harlan in October 2018, she said she hit a sign after attending a gathering in Woodway, where she had been drinking wine.
Harlan told police she thought she hit a stop sign and later said she thought she may have hit a homeless person, according to arrest records.