An Omaha teenager will be tried in juvenile court for crashing into a pedestrian and leaving the scene of the crash.
Douglas County District Judge Marlon Polk on Tuesday transferred the case of Mikala R. Rinehart, 17, who left the scene after striking Frank Huerta, 64.
Huerta died after the Sept. 7 crash near 42nd and H Streets.
Shortly after the crash, Rinehart's mother noticed damage to her daughter's car and questioned her daughter. Mikala Rinehart responded that she “may have hit something.”
Rinehart's mother called police.
Rinehart was charged with leaving the scene of a deadly accident. Had she been tried as an adult, Rinehart could have faced up to five years of probation or up to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors had objected to the transfer. They argued that juvenile court would have only limited time — 18 months — to oversee Rinehart. Juvenile court loses jurisdiction at age 19.
However, investigators were unable to uncover any indication that Rinehart was impaired or was using her cellphone at the time of the crash, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said.
Juvenile court treatment options include probation or placement at a group home or juvenile facility.
— Todd Cooper