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Lincoln woman gets jail time for helping daughter dump car involved in fatal hit-and-run

Lincoln woman gets jail time for helping daughter dump car involved in fatal hit-and-run

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A Lincoln woman who helped her daughter dump her car after she was involved in a hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian has been sentenced to a year in jail. 

Kimberly Cowell, 52, pleaded guilty to attempted tampering with physical evidence and obstructing government operations in a deal with prosecutors, who reduced her charges to the misdemeanors.

She originally had faced a felony.

At about 8:30 p.m. Oct. 18, Lincoln police went to a hit-and-run crash that killed Tina Mortensen, who had been crossing 10th Street just south of South Street.

Cowell's daughter, Casey Maxfield, turned herself in at about 3 a.m. the next day.

In court documents, police said they found the car that was involved in the crash partially submerged in Salt Creek near North 70th Street. Surveillance video showed Maxfield's car and another car pulling in a parking lot there shortly before 10:30 that night.

Police said the second vehicle was Cowell's.

At her sentencing Tuesday, Cowell said when her daughter came home that night, she reacted "in the worst way possible."

"I mistakenly thought what I could do to help my daughter instead of thinking about the person she hit," she said.

Cowell said she can't change what she did, but the choices have had consequences, and she accepted that.

She has custody of her two grandchildren after their mother was sent to prison last month. 

Lancaster County District Judge Robert Otte sentenced Maxfield to two years and two months in prison, plus a year and a half of post-release supervision, for leaving the scene of a crash causing serious injury and motor vehicle homicide. Her driver's license also was revoked for five years.

She pleaded no contest to the charges.

On Tuesday, Otte said no amount of punishment for Cowell makes Mortensen's family whole, and called her actions "tragically inappropriate."

He sentenced Cowell to 360 days in the county jail and allowed her to delay reporting until March 30 to give her time to get into the county's Supervised Sentence Conversion Program, which allows her to stay out of jail and be monitored.

Otte said if she screws up, she will have to serve the remainder of her sentence in jail. 




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