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Trial pushed back in Mika Westwolf hit and run case

Lake County Courthouse 02/28
Posted at 9:19 AM, Feb 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-29 11:19:10-05

POLSON — A new trial date was set on Wednesday in Lake County for the woman accused in the hit-and-run death of Mika Westwolf in March of 2023.

Both Public Defender Meghan Benson and defendant Sunny K. White — who is charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence and other charges in the hit-and-run death of Westwolf — were present in a Polson courtroom after missing the last scheduled omnibus hearing on Jan 24.

Benson moved to push the omnibus hearing back stating the need for more time to file motions. The new omnibus hearing is set for April 10, 2024, at 9 a.m. She also requested that the jury trial be moved from May 6, 2024, to the early fall citing that she is waiting for raw data and a final report from the FBI in regards to cell phone records.

Sunny K. White Court
Sunny K. White, who is charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence and other charges in the hit-and-run death of Mika Westwolf, appeared in a Polson courtroom on February 28, 2024.

Judge Molly Owen approved of the date change. The pre-trial conference is set for Aug. 28. and the jury trial is scheduled for Sep. 30, 2024.

Mother of Mika Westwolf's mother — Carissa Heavy Runner — talked with MTN about the changing dates.

“I figured they would push it back because this is the actual first omnibus so I figured another continuance,” she said. “I knew [the trial change] would be coming. I knew it wouldn’t be May like they stated. [White's] attorney needs time to go to trial.”

02/28 Mika Westwolf hearing
Carissa Heavy Runner, Mika Westwolf's mother, holds a picture of the two of them while walking out of the Lake County Courthouse in Polson on February 28, 2024.

In the meantime, Heavy Runner will keep pushing for justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People through the Mika Matters Movement. She noted that there will be community events in March and April.