The case against a 74-year-old Gilbertsville woman who is charged in the April hit-and-run death of 26-year-old Royersford resident Kristy Bender was allowed to proceed following a preliminary hearing in Limerick this afternoon.
After listening to testimony from an eyewitness and two law enforcement officers, Magisterial District Judge Walter Gadzicki declined to dismiss any of the hit-and-run-related charges against Patricia Maurer, who through her attorney has admitted being the driver of the green Toyota Camry that was seen leaving the scene of the April 27 accident.
Eyewitness James Harrison testified that he was driving "one or two" cars behind the "dark colored car" he says he saw strike Bender.
According to Harrison, the "dark colored car," which authorities maintain was Maurer's Camry, drifted to the right as it approached Bender, who was walking northbound on Township Line Road on her way home from work.
"I thought, 'oh, God, oh, God,' then the girl got hit and sort of somersaulted two or three times," Harrison said. He said that he and another driver stopped, while the "dark colored car" continued on its way.
Montgomery County Det. David Schanes testified that Maurer told him on May 6 that she "felt or hit a bump" and that she did not notice damage to her car until she arrived at the intersection of Township Line Road and Ridge Pike, about a mile north of the accident scene.
Maurer then continued home, where her attorney, Joseph Green, said she contacted her insurance company. Green repeatedly cited Maurer's call to her insurance company as an indication that she acted in good faith after realizing she was in an accident.
Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney John Walko disagreed, calling the insurance company's involvement "irrelevant." Walko noted that Maurer's family did not contact authorities about her involvement until about 9:00pm the night of the accident. He cited the 2003 case of Commonwealth vs. Woosnam in arguing that Maurer reasonably "should have known that she was in an accident."
Maurer, wearing glasses and an avocado-colored cardigan, sat wordlessly through the proceeding, only nodding when Gadzicki addressed her.
"It's extremely hard to know what's in someone's mind," Gadzicki said in holding the charges over for trial. "This is a tragic case in many respects."
Several friends and family members of Bender attended the hearing in light green t-shirts that bore Bender's name and photographs.
Maurer's arraignment is scheduled for July 27 at the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas in Norristown.