Coventry woman charged in fatal hit-and-run

SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Coventry woman was arraigned Wednesday on a charge connected to a deadly Exeter hit-and-run crash on July 3.

Police said Shannon Holden, 23, is accused of hitting Sarah Balmforth, 27, with her vehicle while Balmforth walked along South Road with her dog.

Police had been searching for a Jeep Wrangler between 1997 and 2006 that had sustained passenger-side damage near the front of the vehicle. Detectives went door-to-door in three towns, saying there were about 140 Jeeps falling in that age range.

Sarah Balmforth

A tip led police to a home on Weaver Hill Road, where they seized a 1999 Jeep Wrangler showing damage and registered to Holden.

“Eventually we were going to get to this residence,” Rhode Island State Police Capt. Gerald McKinney said. “Did the tips and leads help? Absolutely. It shortened up the list and allowed us to get there before anyone had any opportunity to repair the vehicle.”

Prosecutors said witnesses indicated to police that Holden had knowledge of being involved in a crash on South Road and believed she may have hit a pedestrian.

Holden was arraigned Wednesday morning and her bail is set at $10,000 with surety. She is charged with duty to stop in accident – death resulting.

In court, a judge said Holden had been given three speeding tickets in the last three months.

Holden is scheduled to appear back in court on July 26.