A well-known Milwaukee bartender was walking her dogs on Christmas Eve when she was killed in a hit and run — and police are searching for the driver who hit her.
James Hanson, 36, was killed around 8:15 p.m.. As she walked along the sidewalk with her dogs, a Jeep jumped the curb and struck her. Police say that the vehicle drove away as Hanson lay badly injured on the sidewalk. Onlookers called 911 and paramedics tried to save her life, but she died at the scene. One of her dogs was also killed in the crash.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, surveillance video from the scene shows the car dragging a light pole as it sped off.
Onlookers told local news about the harrowing events. “I saw them doing CPR on her,” witness Patricia Makarewicz told WISN-TV. “I just couldn’t believe it that somebody would leave the scene of a crime.”
“I saw her laying on the sidewalk, and her dogs up on the hill of the neighbor’s lawn,” Miranda Ortega, another witness, told Fox 6. “She was breathing. I could still feel her breathing. I’m sorry I couldn’t do more.”
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Hanson’s given name is Jamie, but she went by the nickname James. She had worked the day shift at the Milwaukee Brat House. After work, she headed home to take care of her pets.
Friends and family describe Hanson as an outgoing, personable woman who loved being around people and doted on her dogs. “She’s very carefree and had love for everyone,” her cousin, Laura Couture, told WISN-TV. “[The driver] took something so huge from somebody who is just as kind as can be.”
Police have identified the vehicle as a blue Jeep Liberty made between 2002 and 2007. Authorities believe that it has sustained significant damage around the passenger side bumper and fender.
No arrests have been made and police have not publicly named a suspect in her death.
Anyone with any information was asked to call Milwaukee police at 414-935-7360 or Milwaukee Crime Stoppers at 414-224-8477 (TIPS).