ELKO NEW MARKET, Minn. (KMSP) - A Farmington, Minn. motorcycle driver has been charged with criminal vehicle homicide in the fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a 24-year-old veteran in Elko New Market Sunday.
Witnesses told police they saw two motorcycles driving down Main Street at high speeds at approximately 2:24 a.m., with one motorcycle driving on each side of the road, the criminal complaint said.
One of the motorcycles crashed into Mollie Mahowald, a United States Army National Guard soldier from Lakeville, who was standing with her friends on the shoulder of the 2700 block of Main Street. The impact sent her flying 20 to 30 feet as the motorcycle slid past her. Bystanders reportedly yelled at the motorcyclists to stop, but they both drove away.
First responders attempted to revive Mahowald, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner determined Mahowald died from multiple blunt force injuries.
Several other witnesses told police the two motorcyclists were hanging out playing music and during burnouts on the road prior to the crash. One witness said both motorcyclists appeared “hammered.”
One witness identified the driver of the motorcycle that struck Mahowald as 33-year-old Matthew Hartley. Hartley was driving a 2014 Harley Davidson Street Glide at the time of the crash.
Police received a tip from a friend of Hartley who said the suspect called him around 2:30 a.m. and told him he had crashed his motorcycle and needed help to retrieve it and bring it back to his home.
Officers located Hartley at the home he shared with the other motorcyclist in Farmington. His motorcycle was found hidden on the property with a heavily damaged fairing.
Hartley had a revoked driver’s license and had recently been convicted of a DWI in July and has another DWI charge pending. He is also now charged with three counts of criminal vehicular homicide.
Mahowald graduated from New Prague High School in 2010, according to the Elko New Market Chamber of Commerce. She was a wheeled vehicle technician specialist with the U.S. Army National Guard and served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.