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Driver charged with leaving crash scene after hit-and-run death of Laurel woman

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Posted at 4:03 PM, Apr 22, 2024

A 40-year-old Billings woman was charged with one felony and one misdemeanor count in Yellowstone County District Court for allegedly leaving the scene of a crash where a Laurel woman was killed in a hit-and-run in February.

Amber Dawn Walter faces between one and 10 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine for the most serious felony charge.

In charging documents filed Friday, prosecutors alleged that Walter was driving the vehicle that struck and killed29-year-old Kassi McColley, who was walking along East Main Street near the railroad tracks in East Laurel at night.

McColley's mother, Mary McColley, told authorities she received a message Jan. 31 that her daughter had fled her home late at night following a fight with her boyfriend.

Kassi McColley was reported missing Feb. 2. Her mother found her body the afternoon of Feb. 4 after she saw a black, combat-type boot on the north side of East Main Street, similar to what her daughter wore, according to charging documents.

Yellowstone County detectives were then called to investigate, and they found scattered vehicle parts, including a silver passenger side mirror, and what appeared to be a pool of blood in the area, according to charging documents.

On Feb. 6, the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office requested the public's help in finding a suspect vehicle, a switchblade Chevrolet Trax of model years between 2017 and 2022.

Prosecutors stated that Walter called authorities that morning and said she believed she owned the suspect vehicle. She allowed detectives to come to her home and see the vehicle, which was missing the passenger side mirror and other parts consistent with what was found near McColley's body, according to charging documents.

Walter told detectives that she was returning to her Billings Heights home after her evening shift on Jan. 31 when she struck what she believed was a deer around 10:30 p.m. near the flashing light at the corner of East Main Street and Yard Office Road, according to charging documents.

According to prosecutors, Walter said she saw something dark to her right, veered slightly to the left then heard a "clunk." She initially said she didn't stop until she got home, but then later told investigators she stopped once at a stop light a mile away and saw the damage to her vehicle, prosecutors alleged.

Walter also ever hearing about a missing woman in Laurel after the incident, information that widely spread on social media and reported by multiple local news organizations, according to prosecutors.

She told detectives she learned her vehicle was sought when she logged onto Facebook the morning of Feb. 6., according to charging documents.

Related: Candlelight vigil held in Laurel honoring hit-and-run victim
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