Longmont police arrest suspect in deadly hit-and-run on New Year's Eve

LONGMONT, Colo. - Longmont police said they arrested a suspect in the hit-and-run that killed 16-year-old Jason Grimmer on New Year's Eve.

Officers arrested Kendra Rae Balentine, 19, Thursday morning.  They also recovered the run vehicle, a silver Chevy Cavalier with a temporary plate.  Balentine is being charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

"We are very confident that we have the car, and based on our tip and our investigation, we're confident that we have the driver also," said Longmont Police Department Commander Jeff Satur.

Police say Balentine was identified through a tip from a member of the public. Investigators say the car contains evidence of the accident. 

"I can't go into the statements that she's made," Satur said, "But she's maintaining her innocence."

Balentine's mother, Stephanie Balentine, told 7NEWS her daughter didn't do it.

"They made a false arrest. My daughter cannot be there. She was at church, which I told the Longmont Police Department," she said.

The mother told 7NEWS she was with her daughter and has video to prove she was not driving at the time of the crash. She said the video shows the family sitting down to dinner on New Year's Eve at 9:10 p.m.

"My heart goes out to the boy's mother and my prayers, but my daughter did not do it," Stephanie Balentine said.

Stephanie Balentine also said they went to church that night.

"We went to church on New Year's Eve. Services started at 8 p.m. We got there around, like, 7:30. Services did not end until like 12:15 p.m.," she said.

Police told 7NEWS they do believe Kendra was at church, but allege that she left at some point before the hit-and-run.

Grimmer was running from a fight on North Main Street, near 21st Avenue, when he was hit by a car, police said.

Balentine is related to some of the people involved in the fight, police said, but investigators do not believe she ran over Grimmer intentionally.

When the suspect's mother was asked about the familial relationship to the combatant, she said, "I'm here to talk about a hit-and-run that they say my daughter did and she did not do it."

Police say the fight started as an argument between one black male and four white males. It escalated into a physical fight when the black male left and returned with some friends.

Grimmer was the youngest person involved in the brawl, with combatants ranging in age from 16 to 31, police said.

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