Donna Kay Campbell, 42, died March 21 and a candlelight vigil will be March 26. The unsheltered woman was hit by a truck in north Springfield on March 6. The driver did not stop and has not yet been identified. (Photo submitted by Campbell's daughter)

A candlelight vigil will be held Sunday evening, March 26, near the location where a pedestrian was fatally injured in a hit-and-run crash in early March. 

The victim, 42-year-old Donna Campbell, succumbed to her injuries March 21 from the accident that occurred earlier in the month. 

Campbell had been among Springfield’s unsheltered community for several years. She had been run off from her longtime camping spot just a few weeks before she was hit.

A vigil for Donna Kay Campbell will begin at sunset (around 7:30 p.m.) Sunday, March 26, at the Golden Corral at 2734 N. Kansas Expressway.

According to police, Campbell was walking in the nearby crosswalk with her fiancé, when she was hit by a dark pick-up truck around 8:30 p.m. March 6.

This is an undated photo of Donna Kay Campbell, an unsheltered woman who was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run
Donna Kay Campbell, 42, died March 21 after being hit by a truck in north Springfield on March 6. (Photo submitted by Campbell’s daughter)

The truck left the scene northbound on Kansas Expressway, police say. 

Brianna Stoops is a nurse who witnessed the hit-and-run. Stoops was nearby sitting at the light, waiting to turn northbound onto Kansas Expressway. 

“They (Campbell and her fiancé) were on the crosswalk and she stopped, picked something up,” Stoops said. “And this truck blew through the intersection going every bit of 50 or 60 miles per  house. Didn’t stop. Didn’t hit their brakes. Nothing.”

Stoops said she got out of her car and ran across traffic to help. She stayed with Campbell and the distraught fiancé until EMS arrived. As a nurse, Stoops said she recognized how serious Campbell’s injuries were and wouldn’t let anyone move Campbell.

Stoops said Campbell’s fiancé was devastated. 

“Listening to him scream for her was the most gut wrenching, soul tearing thing I think I’ve ever heard,” Stoops said. “He grabbed my arm and kept screaming at me to help her.” 

The crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information about the crash, suspect vehicle or the unidentified driver should call the Springfield Police Department at 417-864-1810. You can provide anonymous information to Crime Stoppers at 417-869-TIPS (8477).

Hit-and-run victim was run off from her camp a few weeks earlier

Campbell was one of three unsheltered people interviewed by the Springfield Daily Citizen in February about recent encounters with Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott and his deputies. 

Campbell told the Daily Citizen that deputies came to where she and her fiancé were camping on Feb. 10 and told them to gather their stuff and get out. Then, according to Campbell and the other unsheltered people, deputies doused their belongings with gas and set it on fire. 

“They had two gas cans,” she said. “They said we had two minutes to get out. … After we tried to get all our stuff, they burned it down.

“We were able to save the heaters, but all the clothes that I’ve got burned down,” Campbell had said. “I’m down right now to one pair of clothes and shoes.”

At the time, the Daily Citizen did not publish Campbell’s name because Campbell told the reporter she didn’t have a safe place to be where she could avoid being arrested for trespassing.

Campbell was emotional when she spoke to the Daily Citizen in February, saying she had never experienced anything like that before. 

“I felt horrible,” she had said. “I felt like it was disgracing us.”

Sheriff says he knows who started fires

Arnott declined to speak with the Daily Citizen about the fires or answer questions by email. But he later posted a statement on Facebook, that said he personally led the operation to clear the camps that morning and that “deputies did not ignite the piles.” 

Arnott told another reporter that he knows who started the fires, but won’t say who. 

When that reporter asked if they brought gas cans to the property, Arnott responded: “We brought a lot of items to there to help and carry items in for landowners to assist.”

The property is in the wooded area behind the former Waffle House at the intersection of Kansas Expressway and I-44.

This is within city limits, where it is illegal to burn trash

It’s also a location where Arnott and deputies cleared and arrested a handful of people for trespassing in January.

‘She has 3 kids who need closure’

Campbell was originally from Mississippi. Her daughter Kaitlynn Singletary said most of Campbell’s surviving family reside in Florida.

An undated photo of Donna Kay Campbell and her family at Christmas
An undated photo of Donna Kay Campbell and her family at Christmas. (Photo submitted by Campbell’s daughter)

The family is planning to have a memorial for Campbell later and spread her ashes with her grandmother is buried. Singletary created an online fundraiser to help pay for this since Campbell had no insurance. 

“I’ll be honest, my mom left when I was 13. I haven’t really spoken to her in 10 years,” Singletary said via Facebook Messenger. “But I can tell you this. She has 3 kids who really, really need closure. And her being killed isn’t the closure we need. We need justice for her. We need someone to be held responsible.

“She was a mother, a daughter, a sister,” Singletary continued. “She, like everyone else, had her flaws, but she loved. She loved her family. She loved her friends.”

Singletary said her mom battled substance use disorder and struggled with her mental health.

“But even through all her struggles, she made sure to tell us she loved us,” Singletary wrote. “And now we won’t ever hear it again.”

Woman who lives near former camp is hosting vigil

Beckyjo Corbin lives less than a block away from the woods where Campbell was camping until Feb 10 when deputies cleared the property.

That’s Donna Kay Campbell on the right. The 42-year-old died March 21 and a candlelight vigil will be March 26. The unsheltered woman was hit by a truck in north Springfield on March 6. The driver did not stop and has not yet been identified. (Photo submitted by Campbell’s daughter)

Corbin said they were good friends and Campbell would stop by Corbin’s house almost every day. 

Not long after Campbell was hit, Corbin visited her in the hospital.

Though Campbell was unconscious, Corbin showed her friend a photo of Campbell’s daughter. Corbin noticed Campbell moving. She believes Campbell was reacting to the photo.

But Campbell never regained consciousness.

It was Corbin’s idea to hold a vigil in Campbell’s honor Sunday night. 

Corbin is worried about how Campbell’s fiancé is handling the news of her death. 

“They were inseparable,” Corbin said of the couple. “They were in love. Them two loved each other with a love I haven’t seen in a lot of people.

“They are good people,” Corbin said. “She had some mental issues. They were just down on their luck.”

Campbell is survived by one son, Nicholas Austin Campbell of Pensacola, Florida; two daughters, Kaitlynn Brooke Singletary and Brittany Ann Campbell, both of Pace, Florida; her dad and stepmom, Spencer and Judith Robinson of Pace, Florida; two brothers, Daniel and Jeremy Robinson, both of Jacksonville, Florida; and four sisters, April Boling of Mississippi, and Wendy Gimiln, Michelle Cutts and Christy Collins, all of Pace, Florida. 

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. She covers housing, homelessness, domestic violence and early childhood, among other public affairs issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald