MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The woman accused of striking and killing an Inver Grove Heights woman with her vehicle in January was formally charged Tuesday, according to the Dakota County Attorney’s Office.

Breyona Sadi Cotton, 30, of Inver Grove Heights was charged with one count of leaving the scene of a collision resulting in death and one count of failure to notify police of a collision resulting in death. Both are felony charges.

Breyona Cotton (credit: Dakota Co. Attorney’s Office)

The incident occurred Jan. 5 when a passerby reported the body of a woman, later determined to be 55-year-old Haimanot Gezahegne Gebremedhin, was lying motionless on the north side of 80th Street in Inver Grove Heights. When police arrived, they performed lifesaving measures on Gebremedhin, but their efforts were unsuccessful. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The next day, Cotton turned herself in to the Inver Grove Police Department, where she told officers she thought she had hit a deer at the time of the incident.

Haimanot Gebremedhin (credit: CBS)

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An accident reconstruction investigation revealed Gebremedhin’s leg had struck the front bumper of Cotton’s car, forcing her entire body onto the hood. The report concluded Gebremedhin would have been visible to Cotton.

Haimanot’s son, Tesfaye Aschenaki, remembered his mother as a “God-fearing, God-loving woman. She is the definition of a proper Christian – somebody that cares, she would do anything for anybody.”

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Cotton’s first court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 7.

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