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Driver pleads not guilty to leaving crash scene where Laurel woman was killed

Amber Dawn Walter.jpg
Posted at 4:40 PM, Apr 25, 2024

The driver accused of failing to stop at a crash scene where a Laurel woman was found dead in an alleged hit-and-run pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to the felony crime.

Amber Dawn Walter, 40, made her first appearance Thursday in Yellowstone County District Court via video call from the Yellowstone County jail.

According to charging documents, Walter was driving home from work Jan. 31 when she struck something she told authorities she believed was a deer on East Main Street near the railroad tracks in Laurel.

That same night, Kassi McColley was walking along that busy street following an altercation with her boyfriend, according to a message she sent her mother. McColley was reported missing, and her body was discovered Feb. 4 near a pile of automotive parts, including a rear-view mirror, that matched parts missing on the Chevrolet Trax driven by Walter, according to charging documents.

Walter turned herself in after sheriff's deputies alerted the public to look out for the kind of vehicle involved in the incident. She has no felony criminal history and one misdemeanor DUI conviction.

Judge granted prosecutors' request for pre-trial check-ins if Walter posts a $100,000 bond. She is not allowed to have contact with victims, witnesses or family members involved in the case.

If convicted, Walter faces between one and 10 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine for the felony charge.

Walter was assigned a public defender. Her next scheduled appearance is June 10. The trial is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 26.

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