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Woman arrested in hit-and-run at Indiana protest

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An Indiana woman was arrested in a hit-and-run crash that sent one woman to the hospital and caused minor injuries to a man during a southern Indiana protest over the assault of a Black man by a group of white men, sheriff's officials said Thursday.

Posted: Jul 9, 2020 11:49 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana woman was arrested in a hit-and-run crash that sent one woman to the hospital and caused minor injuries to a man during a southern Indiana protest over the assault of a Black man by a group of white men, sheriff's officials said Thursday.

Christi Bennett, 66, was booked into the Monroe County Jail early Thursday on preliminary charges of criminal recklessness and leaving the scene of an accident, Deputy Barry Grooms said. She was released a couple of hours later on $500 cash bond.

Authorities expect prosecutors to file formal charges later, and Bennett is scheduled to appear in court on July 17. Bennett could not immediately reached for comment.

The confrontation happened near the Monroe County Courthouse in Bloomington, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Indianapolis, on Monday evening.

A 29-year-old woman was injured when a car accelerated into her, launching her onto the hood, police said. A 35-year-old man then grabbed the driver’s side of the car and held on as the vehicle continued to accelerate. Both were eventually flung to the ground and the car fled the scene, they said.

The woman was knocked unconscious and suffered a cut to her head, while the man scraped his arm.

Bloomington Police Department investigators determined Wednesday that Bennett, the woman the car was registered to, was staying at a motel in Scottsburg, Capt. Ryan Pedigo said in a news release. Investigators found her exiting a motel room and took her to Bloomington to be interviewed, he said. She and her lawyer declined to provide a statement to investigators, according to Pedigo.

Police say her driver's license shows her as living in Greensburg, but that she has recently been living at the motel where she was found.

The protesters had gathered in Bloomington on Monday to demand arrests in an assault on Vauhxx Booker, a civil rights activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, by a group of white men at Monroe Lake near Bloomington over the Fourth of July weekend. Booker said the men pinned him against a tree, shouted racial slurs and one of them threatened to “get a noose.”

The FBI has said it’s investigating the reported assault.

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Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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