Deadly Hit And Run Charges Dropped Against Teen Driver
LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4)– Police in Longmont have recommended that charges be dropped against the teen accused of leaving the scene of a deadly hit and run. The Boulder County DA has dismissed the case.
Kendra Balentine has been charged in connection with a deadly hit and run on New Year’s Eve in which 16-year-old Jason Grimmer died.
Police said the investigation, forensic analysis, evidence by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and a detailed inspection of the Chevy Cavalier belonging to Balentine, 18, shows her vehicle was not involved.
Police said the investigation did reveal that the teen and her vehicle were involved in an unrelated hit and run on Dec. 30, 2012. That is consistent with the story she had previously told CBS4.
‘We did not make this arrest with any ill intentions. We made that arrest based on the evidence that we had based on information we had from witnesses and we relied on that information,” said Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur.
Grimmer’s grandfather Geoff Waltz said he believes the police owe Balentine an apology.
“I feel no ill will and I apologize for the time of her life that’s been wasted,” said Waltz. “If it was not her I don’t understand how someone could live with themselves knowing that they did that. It bothers the hell out of me.”
Balentine has always maintained she was at church on New Year’s Eve. Her pastor, Corey Seulean, backs up her story.
“I was right here (in the church) upstairs, actually, from 9 p.m. to midnight,” she said.
“Look at the size of the room. I mean if people were to come in, left, it’s real noticeable,” Seulean. “So it’s not 300-400 people in a room.”
Balentine’s mother showed CBS4 cellphone video which shows she was at the church.
Previously police believed Balentine left the party and then returned.
“I’m not that type of person to do something like this,” Balentine said. “And then to come back to church, you know? It doesn’t make sense.”
Balentine also said the damage on her car was from a previous accident when she hit a parked car.
“I know they want justice, but justice is not putting an innocent person in jail at all,” Balentine said. “I’m just trying to believe in God that the truth will come out, you know, so I’m just keeping faith.”
Police said they still need help identifying the person responsible for the deadly hit and run on New Year’s Eve.
Investigators said they are continuing to review video footage and canvass repair shops in hopes of identifying the suspect vehicle or determining a better description of the suspect vehicle that struck Grimmer.
Police are asking anyone who may have seen the accident or anyone who was in the area of Longmont’s Main Street at 10 p.m. Dec. 31, 2012 to call Det. Stacey Graham at 303-774-4392.