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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Dennis Widener

Suspect in fatal hit-and-run charged

An 18-year-old woman accused of leaving the scene of a crash that killed a bicyclist is to be arraigned on a felony charge next week.

Megan C. Skillingstad is to appear before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price on Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. on one count failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death.

Skillingstad is accused of striking Dennis Widener, 66, as he rode his bike June 23 on Empire Avenue at North Division Street, just blocks from his home.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed to support the charge against Skillingstad, the suspect's friend's mother helped persuade her to tell her parents about the crash on July 30. Skillingstad's mother was upset and called her “awful names,” the friend's mother told police.

Skillingstad went to the woman's home on July 31 and said she'd come over to say goodbye because “she was going to see a judge on Monday, and would probably go to jail after that,” according to the affidavit. “She also said that she hoped she'd be able to talk to the widow before going to jail.”

But that didn't happen, and police seized Skillingstad's 1996 Nissan Sentra Aug. 5, one day after a friend called police and said she'd been trying to persuade Skillingstad to turn herself in to no avail.

Skillingstad had reportedly told another friend that “she was terrified and didn't know what to do” when she struck Widener, according to the affidavit. “She thought about staying at the scene, but got scared and left.”

Past coverage:

Aug. 30: Hit-and-run questions linger

Aug. 6: Suspect in hit-and-run identified

July 6: 'People have got to stop doing these things'

Questions linger in fatal hit-and-run

Helen Widener, wife of the bicyclist who died following a hit-and-run crash in June, says she is taking it day by day. (SRPhoto/Colin Mulvany)

For Helen Widener, the days haven’t gotten easier.

When Spokane police first identified a suspect in the hit-and-run crash that led to the death of her husband, Dennis Widener, last month, she wondered if she might be able to meet with her and make peace.

But as the days passed, she realized how impossible that seemed.

“I wake up with a broken heart every morning,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who did it. He’s still gone.”

Spokane police Cpl. Brad Hallock this week recommended prosecutors charge the suspected driver, 18-year-old Megan C. Skillingstad, with failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Aug. 6: Suspect in hit-and-run identified

July 6: 'People have got to stop doing these things'

Suspect identifed in fatal hit-and-run

A suspect has been identified in a June hit-and-run crash that led to a 66-year-old Spokane man’s death.

Spokane police on Friday seized a 1996 Nissan Sentra that they believe 18-year-old Megan C. Skillingstad was driving when she struck Dennis Widener on June 23. Widener (pictured) died of his injuries two weeks later.

Cpl. Brad Hallock said Skillingstad, who has not been arrested and has no criminal history, faces a charge of failure to leave information at the scene of a collision resulting in death.

Read the rest of my story here.

Cyclist died from injuries in hit-and-run

A north Spokane bicyclist struck by a hit-and-run driver on North Division Street last month died from injuries suffered in the accident, an autopsy showed.

Dennis Widener, 66, died after a blood clot traveled to his lungs from deep within his body, the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s office said today.

Widener died on Wednesday in what family members said appeared to be heart attack.

Read the rest of Mike Prager's story here.

Hit-and-run victim dies of heart attack

A north Spokane man who was injured in June by a hit-and-run driver died of a heart attack Wednesday

Dennis Widener was struck while out exercising on his bicycle at Division Street and Garland Avenue about 5:45 a.m. on June 23.

He was hospitalized at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center with broken ribs and other injuries and then transferred to St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute.

The collision was the subject of a story in Wednesday's edition of The Spokesman-Review.

Spokane police said they had little evidence to solve the felony case other than a vague vehicle description, possibly a brown Toyota Avalon.

Anyone with information should call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
  

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