Crime

Coroner: Pedestrian death on MLK Boulevard ruled accidental

Jovonne Williams charged in hit-and-run death of Kassandra Hollinhead

Jovonne Williams, 36, faces vehicular homicide and other related charges in the March 4, 2017 hit-and-run death of Kassandra "Kassie" Hollinhead, 35, on Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard. Williams is represented by defense attorney William Kendri
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Jovonne Williams, 36, faces vehicular homicide and other related charges in the March 4, 2017 hit-and-run death of Kassandra "Kassie" Hollinhead, 35, on Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard. Williams is represented by defense attorney William Kendri

The death of Kassandra “Kassie” Hollinhead has been ruled accidental while the woman charged in the March 4 crash on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard faces additional charges, authorities said Friday.

Hollinghead, 35, died of blunt-force trauma to the head and torso in a preliminary report from the crime lab in Decatur, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said. More details on her death may be available when the full report is completed.

Meanwhile, hit-and-run suspect Jovonne Williams waived her hearing Thursday in Columbus Recorder’s Court after police filed two additional charges of tampering with evidence and obstruction of law enforcement in connection with the 10:20 p.m. crash at Murray Street. She remains held in the Muscogee County Jail on bonds totaling $21,550 in the crash and no bond on an unrelated financial transaction card fraud.

Williams, 36, was in the same court Wednesday to plead not guilty to felony homicide by vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, duty to report fatal injury accident, driving while license suspended or revoked and having no proof of insurance. She was taken into custody around 6:48 p.m. Monday.

Police said Hollinhead was walking south across Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard when she was struck by the front of an eastbound 1996 Chevrolet Lumina driven by Destinee Hampton near Murray Street. The pedestrian then was struck by a second westbound 1995 Ford Explorer driven by Williams.

Williams stopped briefly but left the crash scene, police said. A witness gave police the tag number on the Ford which led to the suspect’s cousin’s house.

Police didn’t reach Williams that night but did get her on a phone at her cousin’s house. She told police the first car struck the pedestrian and sent Hollinhead flying into the air before she ran over her.

Bryan said Hollinhead’s clothing may have concealed her on the street. She was wearing a white T-shirt, dark gray hooded sweatshirt and black jeans. “She was concealed,” he said, noting the dark sweatshirt probably was zipped on the cool night.

Police located Williams’ vehicle on Fletcher Avenue. The tag was removed and there was evidence the vehicle had been scrubbed clean.

Defense attorney William Kendrick argued at the hearing that Williams didn’t cause the crash that killed Hollinhead and there was no homicide by vehicle. Police said the felony charge of homicide by vehicle was based on the suspect leaving the scene of the crash.

Kendrick was pleased to learn of the preliminary autopsy report on Friday. “We didn’t have any indication on what the preliminary was going to say,” he said. “We’re definitely looking forward to that.”

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