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Suspected Deadly Hit & Run Driver Appears In Court

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Kendra Balentine appeared in Boulder Co. Court on Friday. (credit: CBS)

Kendra Balentine appeared in Boulder Co. Court on Friday. (credit: CBS)

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The suspect arrested in connection with a deadly hit-and-run that happened on Longmont’s Main Street on New Year’s Eve made her first appearance in court on Friday afternoon.

Officers arrested Kendra Balentine, 18, on Thursday morning at a gas station at 15th and Main.

Balentine appeared in Boulder County Court Friday afternoon. She was wearing a Boulder County Jail uniform. She briefly turned to look at the CBS4 News camera while she sat on the bench awaiting her name to be called by the judge.

The judge set her bond at $100,000 for the felony case of leaving the scene of a deadly hit and run.

Authorities said Balentine had been under surveillance since Wednesday night after they received a tip about her.

“We are confident, based on the information we have — from our witnesses, from the vehicle — that we have the car and the driver,” said Longmont police spokesman Jeff Satur.

Jason Grimmer, 16, was killed after he allegedly ran into street following a fight about 10 p.m. Police said he was struck by a two-door Chevy.

Balentine’s mother told CBS4 on Thursday that her daughter was at church all night on Monday night, but Satur said his department has “contrary information to that.”

Stephanie Balentine said she and her daughter were in church on New Year’s Eve at Messiahville Baptist Church from about 7:30 p.m. until after midnight.

“I got video to show where my daughter’s at,” said Stephanie as she showed her cell phone video to CBS4’s Howard Nathan. “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Balentine left court on Friday afternoon upset that the judge set such a high bond for her daughter, who has no criminal record.

Pastor Corey Seulean confirms her story.

“From 7:45 p.m. until about 12:15 a.m.” said Seulean. “She was with us the whole time.”

Jason Grimmer (credit: CBS)

Jason Grimmer (credit: CBS)

“They said her tires matched the tread print. I told the officers that was impossible. My daughter was at church and her car was there with her,” said Stephanie.

In court, the district attorney’s office said there were tire tracks on the young man’s head.

Police believe that Balentine might have received a text or phone call about 9:45 p.m. New Year’s Eve and then left the church to join friends who had been fighting with other teens or young men.

Detectives want to see the cell phone video that Stephanie took of her daughter at the church. They also are hoping to obtain a warrant so they can examine Balentine’s cell phone for time stamps on text messages and phone calls she may have received before the deadly collision.

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