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Woman charged in fatal Inver Grove Heights hit-and-run

Breyona Cotton, 30. Photo: Inver Grove Heights Police Department
Breyona Cotton, 30.

Updated: August 13, 2019 02:30 PM

An Inver Grove Heights woman has been charged in connection to a hit-and-run that killed one person in January.

The Dakota County Attorney's Office said Tuesday that Breyona Sadi Cotton, 30, was charged with one count of leaving the scene of a collision resulting in death and one count of failure to notify police of a collision resulting in death.

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The crash, which happened on 80th Street near Blaine Avenue, killed 55-year-old Haimanot Gezahegne Gebremedhin on January 5.

A criminal complaint states a vehicle stopped to report to an Inver Grove Heights police officer on patrol that they just saw what looked like a dead woman lying in the road near 80th Street and Blaine Avenue, at about 5:40 p.m. on January 5. Officers were immediately called to the location and found an unconscious woman who appeared to have been struck by a vehicle.

Lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful and the woman, later identified as Gebremedhin, was pronounced dead at the scene, the complaint states.

Victim, suspect identified in Inver Grove Heights hit-and-run

The following day, Cotton came to the Inver Grove Heights Police Department with an attorney to report information pertaining to the crash. According to the complaint, Cotton's attorney told police she learned from friends who saw news coverage of the incident that she had struck a person the previous night. She told police she turned west onto 80th Street after leaving a McDonald's drive-thru and said she saw two police cars in a parking lot and checked her speed, which said she was traveling 40 mph. She also said she had a green light while approaching Blaine Avenue when "out of nowhere" she heard a collision and thought she struck a deer.

According to the complaint, Cotton told police she turned right onto Blaine Avenue after the collision and stopped, but didn't see or hear anything else and drove home.

Accident reconstruction by the Minnesota State Patrol indicated the victim's legs were struck by the front bumper of Cotton's car, forcing her entire body onto the hood and her head onto the lower portion of the windshield, meaning Cotton should've seen the victim, the attorney's office said.

Cotton's first court appearance has been set for October 7.

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