Police intensify hunt for hit-and-run motorist who killed 12-year-old boy

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Tips were still streaming in to police in a small community in western Norway on Monday, after they went door-to-door seeking help in what proved to be a fatal hit-and-run accident Friday evening. The victim was a 12-year-old boy out roller-skiing with his father on a narrow local road in Klepp, Rogaland County.

Olav Hovda, described by the pastor of his family’s local congregation as a “wonderfully modest” boy who also played football, died on Saturday after he was hit from behind by a car on Lalandsvegen near the Klepp train station. Police said both the boy and his father were wearing reflective clothing and skiing on the right side of the road. The driver of the car, believed to be a small possibly dark-red sedan, sped off without stopping.

The impact flung the boy up in the air and into the center of the road, leaving him critically injured. He was rushed to hospital in nearby Stavanger but despite intensive treatment, died the next day.

Full investigation
Officials from the police to Transport Minister Marit Arnstad have been urging the driver of the car to come forward. A 24-year-old man was arrested late Saturday night and briefly held in custody while his car was examined, but he was later cleared of any involvement and released.

Police are thus continuing their investigation with full force, with newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad reporting that they have received several hundred tips. The case has sparked national interest as well as widespread public involvement in the local area, with the investigation being run from the sheriff’s office in Klepp. They were getting assistance from several other operations centers within the Rogaland Police District.

Police officers went door-to-door in Klepp on Sunday to ask residents if they had seen or heard anything that could help them track down the driver and the car, which is believed to have been damaged itself when it hit the boy. Police believe the hit-and-run driver is from the Jæren area around Klepp, south of Stavanger and Sandnes, because he or she was using the local road that serves Kåsen, Bryne, Klepp station and Orstad. Sheriff Hans Kyllingstad told reporters, though, that he and his colleagues were keeping all options open.

Torchlight demonstration
The accident occurred just two days before an annual torchlight march was held on the other side of the country, in Stokke, in memory of other traffic victims in Norway. It was attended by both local and state officials including Transport Minister Marit Arnstad.

“This reminds us of how tragic a traffic accident is for those who are left behind,” Arnstad told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “This is true not least for those in Klepp, who have lost their boy.” She also urged the hit-and-run driver to report to police.

“Any driver who even thinks they may have caused an accident must report to the authorities as quickly as possibly,” Arnstad said. “I hope that happens.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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