ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A family who lost their brother to a hit-and-run driver three weeks ago is beginning to find closure. Deputies say they’ve tracked down the man responsible for hitting a bicyclist and leaving him to die. Investigators say with no witnesses and few clues, answers in this case could have easily slipped through the cracks.
Susan Wolff and Mary Pierce listen to Gaelic music from the group their brother used to play in. It’s been three weeks since they lost their brother, Michael Wolff, to a hit and run driver and three weeks later, they say they’re finally able to begin the grieving process.
“For us, it was a sense of the beginning of closure, just knowing what had happened,” says Susan.
Friday night, they got a call from detectives who told them they had found the man responsible for their brother’s death. It’s 21-year-old Shilo Sap of Stanley, New Mexico.
Yet, instead of anger, the two felt sympathy for the young man.
“We talked about it afterwards, about what it must be like for a 21-year-old man to have his whole life ahead of him affected by what’s happened,” explains Mary.
They say they’re relieved they now know what happened to their brother when he was hit near Edgewood.
Deputies say they stopped Sap on Friday night near the scene of the crash. His car – an old Crown Victoria – had damage consistent with the wreck. They were looking for a car that had the kind of turn signal light found at the scene.
Deputies say when interviewed, Sap admitted to hitting Wolff.
“He stated that he did, in fact, hit the bicyclist that he had looked down for a moment to change the radio station. When he looked up, the bicyclist was right there. He panicked, was afraid and didn’t want to call 911,” Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Aaron Williamson explains.
With little evidence and no witnesses, those are details deputies feared they might never learn.
“This is a case that could have very easily gone cold, so to actually have a suspect in custody and the person responsible behind bars, that’s a huge win for all of us,” says Williamson.
Susan and Mary say, knowing the full story, they forgive Sap.
“Knowing this was an accident, how can you not?” questions Susan.
“And it would be what Michael would do,” says Mary.
The sisters have one final message for drivers.
“We’ve had people call that we don’t know. They’re bicyclists who said it is out worst fear what happened to your brother. We go out on our bikes knowing that could happen to us and people need to slow down and move over for the bicyclists, to really pay attention,” explains Mary.
Deputies say if Sap had pulled over and called 911 that night, there might have been a very different outcome to this tragic case.