By Associated Press - Saturday, December 12, 2020

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - An 85-year-old Bismarck woman accused of driving away from a June collision in which a pedestrian died has pleaded not guilty.

The Bismarck Tribune reports Bertha Harper on Friday pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide and failure to report the incident that authorities say led to the death of 33-year-old Amber Rebel.

Police on June 3 responded to a report of a hit-and-run at a Gateway Avenue apartment building. Three people reported seeing a white SUV make a right turn from the apartment driveway, strike a pedestrian and drive away.

Bismarck Police Officer Joe Peterson said video from a nearby business showed her vehicle leaving the area about the time the 911 call came in, and police found blue jean fibers on a tire of Harper’s vehicle Rebel was wearing blue jeans at the time of the crash.

Rebel was airlifted to a Fargo hospital, where she later died from her injuries.



Harper’s attorney, Tom Dickson, quizzed Peterson about Harper’s cooperation in the investigation, noting that she at the request of police voluntarily made phone calls to verify her whereabouts on the day of the collision. He waived further argument during the hearing.

South Central District Judge Daniel Borgen moved the case to trial. Three days are set aside starting March 23, court records show.

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