Woman sentenced in Inver Grove Heights fatal hit-and-run

Breyona Cotton, 30. Photo: Inver Grove Heights Police Department. Breyona Cotton, 30.

Updated: March 03, 2021 11:52 AM
Created: March 03, 2021 11:43 AM

The woman who pleaded guilty to the hit-and-run that killed 55-year-old Haimanot Gezahegne Gebremedhin was sentenced Wednesday. 

Breyona Sadi Cotton was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 30 days of electronic home monitoring. 

Cotton pleaded guilty to the 2019 crash in October. 

Woman charged in fatal Inver Grove Heights hit-and-run pleads guilty

According to a criminal complaint, on Jan. 5, 2019, a driver stopped to report to an Inver Grove Heights police officer on patrol that they just saw what looked like a dead woman lying in the road near 80th Street and Blaine Avenue, at about 5:40 p.m.

Officers were immediately called to the location and found an unconscious woman who appeared to have been struck by a vehicle. Life-saving efforts were unsuccessful and the woman, later identified as Gebremedhin, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cotton went with an attorney to the Inver Grove Heights Police Department the following day to report information pertaining to the crash.

According to the complaint, Cotton's attorney told police she learned from friends who saw news coverage of the incident that she had struck a person the previous night. She told police she turned west onto 80th Street after leaving a McDonald's drive-thru and said she saw two police cars in a parking lot and checked her speed, which said she was traveling 40 mph. She also said she had a green light while approaching Blaine Avenue when "out of nowhere" she heard a collision and thought she struck a deer. Cotton told police she turned right onto Blaine Avenue after the collision and stopped, but didn't see or hear anything else and drove home.

Accident reconstruction by the Minnesota State Patrol indicated the victim's legs were struck by the front bumper of Cotton's car, forcing her entire body onto the hood and her head onto the lower portion of the windshield, meaning Cotton should've seen the victim, the attorney's office said.

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