Elderly woman pushes neighbor to safety before being fatally struck by car

DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - An elderly woman and her granddaughter’s dog are dead, and her neighbor is recovering from her injuries after they were struck by a vehicle while chatting along a Davie sidewalk.

The deceased victim, Emma Kelsoe, recently celebrated her 80th birthday and has 15 grandchildren. She’s impacted her community and friends and family have started a memorial for her in the location where she lost her life.

Her family gathered at the place where she died, just feet from her home, Thursday night. “She was just very loving, loving, caring person,” said Lisa Johnson, the victim’s great-granddaughter. “It’s very, very sad that she’s gone.”

According to police, the fatal hit-and-run was reported at around 7 p.m., Wednesday.

Kelsoe was walking the dog when she stopped to talk to a neighbor, 61-year-old Vickie McCall, who has impaired vision, near Southwest 18th Street and 86th Avenue. Suddenly, the victim allegedly saw a car coming right at them, and she warned McCall.

“She remembers the woman yelling ‘car’ and she looking up and seeing the headlights,” said McCall’s niece, Kimberly McCall.

Surveillance video from a nearby home shows the driver fleeing eastbound after striking the three victims.

“That’s what they were doing, just out here doing neighborly things,” Kimberly McCall said.

Kelsoe’s granddaughter’s chihuahua, named Rondo, was also killed in the crash.

Kelsoe's chihuahua, Rondo.
Kelsoe’s granddaughter’s chihuahua, Rondo.

Vickie was taken to the hospital. She suffered two fractured vertebrae but has since been released and is recovering at home.

Witnesses who watched as the vehicle struck the victims said Kelsoe pushed her neighbor out of the path of danger and saved her life. “The woman that was killed pushed the other woman out of the way,” said witness George Law. “The dog was also killed.”

The surveillance video showed the car as it drove away and a neighbor who ran to help the victims.

And those who knew Kelsoe well, told 7News they were not surprised to hear she risked her life to save someone else’s.

“I honestly think it’s disgusting, and it sickens me,” said Sara Rivera, the victim’s granddaughter. “She was a beautiful soul. She was always the one who would just have no problem putting herself in a horrible situation as long as it saved someone else.”

Now, Vickie’s family feels forever grateful to Kelsoe for taking the brunt of the impact in order to save her friend. “It makes me so emotional,” said McCall. “I am forever indebted to this woman. I am.”

Witnesses said there may have been two people in the car. However, they did not get a good look at them.

“They said that there is possibly a passenger. All they said was that it was a Caucasian passenger,” said Davie Police Sgt. Pablo Casteneda.

Police closed the surrounding streets in the area while they conducted their investigation.

Some officials were touched by Kelsoe’s heroic actions and returned to the scene Thursday afternoon to place flowers at the memorial. “I’m just trying to pay respects to a woman and her family,” one Davie Police Officer said.

That memorial grew into Thursday night as loved ones stopped to pay their respects. “And I tell you what, for 80 years old, she was full of spunk,” said neighbor Angel.

Those in the area are now taking extra precautions after learning about the fatal hit-and-run. “Some people don’t care,” said neighbor Danielle Breault. “Some people are heartless.”

Police are looking for a dark, black or dark blue, car, possibly a Toyota Corolla. “We had a police officer come to our driveway because we have a black car,” Law said.

“It’s very difficult. It’s very difficult, which is why we ask for the community’s help in this situation,” Casteneda said. “If anybody’s able to provide us with any video or surveillance that they have on their homes, that’s greatly helpful. If anybody has seen a similar car in the area, can give us a call and provide us with any information.”

Rivera said Kelsoe was a wonderful grandmother to over a dozen grandchildren. “I just want that person to know what they took from us,” she said. “They took a great-grandmother of over 15 grandchildren, and it’s really hard to see something like this happen, and you just want justice, honestly.”

If you have any information on this hit-and-run, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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