Army sergeant killed after hit-and-run will save many lives

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Army sergeant who was deploying later this year died following an east side hit-and-run early Saturday morning.

Around 3:30 a.m. Saturday, officers were called to an accident at the 4000 block of Southeastern Ave. According to authorities, Joseph Nordstrom and Angela Ruhlig were walking along the side of the road when they were hit.

Both victims were transported to an area hospital. Ruhlig is expected to survive, but police said Nordstrom was brain dead when he arrived at the hospital.

Police are searching for the suspected vehicle, a beige or gold Ford F-150 pick-up, between the model years 2004 and 2008. The vehicle will have damage to the front passenger side, including heavy damage to the headlight.

FOX59 spoke with the older brother of Joe, Jason McCoy and his fiancé Renee Smith.

Joe, 30, was an 11-year veteran of the Army reserves, including a tour in Afghanistan, and most recently held the rank of sergeant. He planned on deploying later this year overseas to work on Black Hawk helicopters.

Family says Joe lived life to the fullest and recently came back to Indianapolis after learning how to become a helicopter mechanic. He is a graduate of Northwest High School and worked at Amazon.

"His love for his country and the military was undeniable," Smith said.

The family hopes he will live on through someoneelse's heart. When he was brain dead, doctors  harvested Nordstrom's heart, liver, kidneys and tissue to help skin grafting patients. Joe will save several lives with his donations. His family said someone already has received his heart.

"Every viable part that was able to help a recipient was donated. That was what he wanted," Smith said.

To sign up as an organ donor in Indiana, click here.

Sgt. Nordstrom leaves behind a 2-year-old son. The family is hoping somebody saw something that will lead to an arrest.

Joe's visitation is Friday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Flanner Buchanan located at 5463 Kentucky Ave. The funeral is Saturday at 10 a.m. The family says both are open to the public.

The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses. Any funds left over will go to the Disabled American Veterans Foundation.

If you know anything about the incident that may help authorities, call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-8477.