LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – Police believe racial tensions might have been what led to a deadly hit-and-run on New Year’s Eve in Longmont, but the victim’s family says they have their doubts.

Longmont police say Jason Grimmer, 16, was involved in a street fight they’ve described as having racial overtones, but Grimmer’s family says that accusation is uncharacteristic

“A fight between some white males and some black males,” Cmdr. Jeff Satur with Longmont police said.

Police say Grimmer ran onto Main Street on New Year’s Eve to escape the fight. Moments later he was killed after getting hit by a car that never stopped.

“I know with absolute certainty that Jason was not a racist and that Jason would defend someone against that kind of behavior,” Grimmer’s grandmother Ellen Waltz said.

Walter is outraged by the thought anyone would think her grandson was racist.

“He had people that he loved, some of his closest friends are black people, are Mexican people,” she said.

On Thursday police arrested Kendra Balentine. Her mother insists she’s innocent.

“My daughter was in church and her car was there with her,” her mother told CBS4’s Howard Nathan while showing him cellphone video of Balentine at the church. The video is being investigated by police.

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

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

Their pastor says the Balentines are telling the truth.

“She was with us the whole time,” Pastor Corey Seulean said.

On Friday Balentine made her initial court appearance. Police believe she received a phone call or text Monday night calling her to the fight. Grimmer’s grandmother questions the suspect’s actions.

“What was she doing there? What was her purpose for being there?” Waltz said.

Answers may be known as the investigation continues, but for now a grieving grandmother defends her grandson’s reputation.

“Jason lost his life and he’s not here to tell anybody how he feels or how he thinks,” Waltz said.


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