A Mitchell woman allegedly involved in a hit-and-run incident that left a man with life-threatening injuries pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.
Brittany Price, 32, was charged with a hit-and-run felony and driving without a license for the crash that occurred in the early morning hours of March 10. The hit-and-run sent a man, who was later identified in court documents as her boyfriend, to the hospital.
Price allegedly struck Michael Martinez, 25, of Mitchell, with her vehicle near Dick’s Body Shop along West Havens Avenue. She’s facing charges that include a hit-and-run, a class six felony with a maximum punishment upon conviction of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine, along with a class two misdemeanor for driving without a license. She will face a jury trial on Aug. 9.
The investigation into the hit-and-run incident began several hours after Price allegedly struck Martinez when Davison County Sheriff’s Office located a man in a ditch without a shirt or pants. Upon officers arriving at the scene, Martinez appeared to be surrounded in “pools of blood” in the ditch. Martinez was transported to Avera Queen of Peace hospital and later airlifted to Sioux Falls with life-threatening injuries. The Department of Criminal Investigation and South Dakota Highway Patrol led the investigation.
During the investigation, Price admitted she “hit something.” Price said she stopped her black 2007 Dodge Charger to survey the area after she allegedly hit Martinez but claimed she did “not see anything,” according to court documents. Price told authorities that Martinez, her boyfriend, left the vehicle when she went into a home along West Havens Avenue to purchase marijuana around midnight on Wednesday.
After she returned to her vehicle and Martinez was no longer inside, she began searching for him in her car along 254th Avenue and allegedly hit Martinez. Price claimed to have called and texted Martinez while she was searching for him early Wednesday morning. Following the hit-and-run, Price made no attempts to contact authorities and report the incident.
When authorities visited Martinez’s home, a damaged black 2007 Dodge Charger was parked in front of the house. The vehicle had a cracked windshield and dents on the front passenger side of the vehicle, according to court documents. Authorities then found remnants of what appeared to be an individual’s hair in the cracks of the circular-shaped windshield break, matching the type of damage that would result from a hit-and-run with another person.
Judge Chris Giles authorized Price’s request to release her vehicle involved in the hit-and-run incident from the state investigators.