Driver charged for fatal Inver Grove Heights pedestrian crash

The driver involved in a fatal crash that killed a pedestrian in Inver Grove Heights was charged Aug. 13 in connection with the events that took place in January this year.

Breyona Sadi Cotton, 30, was charged with leaving the scene of a collision resulting in death and failure to notify police of a collision resulting in death. Both charges are felonies and carry a maximum sentence of three years, a $5,000 fine or both.

A driver told police Jan. 5 they saw what appeared to be a dead woman in the road near 80th Street and Blaine Avenue, according to police. Officers found an unconscious woman laying on the north side of 80th Street who appeared to have been struck by a vehicle. 

The woman, later identified as Haimanot Gezahegne Gebremedhin, was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to court documents, on Jan. 6, Cotton came to the Inver Grove Heights Police Department with her attorney to report information she had relating to the crash that killed Gebremedhin. Her attorney told police she learned from friends who saw news coverage that she had struck a person the night before.

Cotton allegedly told police she left a nearby McDonald’s drive-thru, turned west on 80th Street and saw two police cars in the high school parking lot. She checked her speed and she was going 40 mph. She said she had a green light when approaching Blaine Avenue around 5:40 p.m. when out of nowhere, she heard a collision and throught she’d hit a deer, court documents say.

After the collision, Cotton allegedly turned right onto Blaine Avenue and stopped, but didn’t see or hear anything — she didn’t get out of her vehicle as she thought she it a deer — and drove home.  

According to court documents, a reconstruction report done by the Minnesota State Patrol determined Gebremedhin’s legs struck the front of Cotton’s car, forcing her entire body onto the hood. Her head struck the lower portion of the windshield. 

The report concluded Gebremedhin should have been visible to the driver who struck her and “that any reasonable investigation into the collision would revealed the victim’s body.”

The vehicle Cotton was allegedly driving at the time had a large dent in the front bumper and hood on the passenger side of the vehicle. 

Her next appearance in court is Oct. 7. According to court records, Cotton in 2010 was convicted of refusing a DWI test and sentenced to probation.

Gebremedhin, 55, was described by her daughter-in-law as a devoted mother, grandmother and wife.

— Hannah Burlingame

Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Comment Here