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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Suspect in fatal hit-and-run bike crash pleads not guilty

An 18-year-old woman accused of a hit-and-run crash that killed a bicyclist was arraigned on a felony charge today in Spokane County Superior Court. Megan C. Skillingstad pleaded not guilty to one count failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death for the crash with Dennis Widener, 66, which occurred June 23 as he rode his bike on Empire Avenue at North Division Street. Skillingstad was joined by family members and her lawyer Carl Oreskovich, who declined to speak with media after the short hearing before Judge Michael Price. Widener’s widow, Helen Widener, also attended. Skillingstad was given a trial date of Dec. 12, but Price acknowledged it may be postponed to allow more time to prepare. Skililngstad, a star softball catcher at Shadle Park High School who’s to play for Community Colleges of Spokane, has until Wednesday at 5 p.m. to report to the Spokane County Jail to be booked and released. Spokane 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 a probable cause affidavit. “She thought about staying at the scene, but got scared and left.” Police said a friend said Skillingstad was on her way to work when the crash occurred about 4:38 a.m. Widener died at a hospital on July 6.