A grieving mother is hoping the driver who killed her son in a hit-and-run accident in Phoenix last week will come forward to authorities.
“It won’t bring him back but maybe it will bring our family peace and justice for him,” said Maricopa resident Sue Ball. “I promised him that would happen.”
Her 27-year-old son, Joseph N. Schott, was crossing mid-block near the intersection of 35th and Dunlap avenues July 20 at approximately 10:30 p.m. when police said a vehicle struck him and fled the scene.
Ball said investigators with the Phoenix Police Department are working to find the suspect they believe was likely driving a white 2001-05 model Mercedes Benz C320.
Tips can be called into Phoenix Police Department or Silent Witness at 480-948-6377.
Schott was a hard-working electrician who wore his heart on his sleeve, according to family. He loved baseball and music, but nothing compared to the love he had for his family.
“He was just a great kid always looking out for his sisters and me,” Ball said.
The horrific news reached Ball the day after the accident as she shopped inside Maricopa’s Ross retail store on opening day.
The voice on the other line was her ex-husband Sam with the terrible information about their son.
Ball, blinded by tears and shock, exited the store and fell to the ground.
It was how the community reacted next that propelled her to publish a post on social media Thursday morning thanking total strangers.
“I remember seeing a lady that must have had some kind of trouble walking because I remember seeing a cane, and her arm reaching down, and she was able to pull me up,” Ball said.
People she didn’t know surrounded and hugged her.
Store managers escorted Ball to a back office where an employee offered to help place a call to a family member to pick her up.
That employee was Sharolyn Winn, manager of a Gilbert Ross location who was assisting new staff during the opening.
“I have a child myself, and when I saw her and she said her son was killed, my heart was breaking and I’ve been thinking about her every day since then,” said Winn, who stayed and comforted Ball until her family arrived.
The outpouring of compassion has touched the family, Ball said.
Acts of kindness have grown to include meal trains and a GoFundMe account to assist in memorial costs.
“There’s been an overabundance of love and support,” said Schott’s step-father Jeff Ball.
A responsibility she never thought she’d have, Ball is now arranging her son’s celebration of life – while awaiting the day justice is served.
“I hope they get punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Ball said of the driver who killed Schott. “I hope they never, ever forget that moment that they took a life and they didn’t stop.”