HPD: Charges filed against hit-and-run driver who killed young bicyclist in Montrose

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by Nakia Cooper / KHOU.com

khou.com

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 6 at 4:45 PM

HOUSTON -- The hit-and-run driver who killed a bicyclist in the Montrose area in December 2013 was charged with the crime on Wednesday, according to Houston police.

Margaret Ann Mayer, 35, was charged with accident involving death.

On December 1, Chelsea Norman left her job at Whole Foods Market and was riding her bike home, which was only five minutes away, as she often did. She was heading southbound in the 1500 block of Waugh around 10:20 p.m. when she was struck by a car. The driver never stopped, leaving the 24-year-old cyclist lying in the road.

Norman’s boyfriend Larry Villalobos was waiting for her at home that night. He remembered getting the call.

”A police officer saying she had been struck and my life changed that fast,” Villalobos said.

A witness who called 911 said Norman's bike, shoes and other personal items were scattered throughout the intersection, but he didn’t see the vehicle that hit her. She was also not wearing a helmet when she was struck.

Norman was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, but died days later from her injuries.  Her death sparked outrage among the cycling community.

HPD received multiple tips in the case, which eventually led them to Mayer.

A friend of Mayer’s told police that on the night of the accident, she and Mayer had been out drinking at a bar together. She said the next day, Mayer told her that she had gotten lost on Waugh and believed she might have hit someone because her window was shattered, but couldn’t quite remember because she was very intoxicated, according to court documents.

Investigators tracked down Mayer at her job and saw damage to her vehicle consistent with having been in a collision. During questioning, she admitted that she had been in the area on the night of the crash, but vaguely remembered how she got home, according to court documents.

Mayer said she did remember crashing into one of her friend’s vehicles earlier in the evening, but had since paid him for the damages. She said she did not remember being involved in any other collision after that.

Regarding her car, Mayer initially denied having any repairs made, but later admitted to having her windshield, a headlight and her brakes fixed.

Investigators went to the shop that repaired the windshield and obtained surveillance video of Mayer coming and going. They also received a sales receipt of the windshield repair. Investigators then spoke to the repairman at the brake shop.

Mayer’s neighbor told investigators that on the night of the accident, Mayer returned home around 11 p.m. and had damage to her car. The neighbor said when she went over to help, she saw a “gooey yellow substance” on the hood of the car and a piece of blue denim was also attached to it. The neighbor then helped Mayer call her mother to tell her about the incident.

Investigators spoke to Mayer’s brother’s girlfriend, who said that Mayer’s mother told her about the crash. She then said she let Mayer borrow her car while hers was being repaired.

Investigators learned Mayer’s brother was in the Harris County Jail and requested his phone calls. In a recorded conversation, Mayer’s mother and brother could be heard talking about the crash, referencing Mayer as “Auntie M,” saying she was drunk when she hit a bike.

A warrant was then issued for the search and seizure of Mayer’s car. DNA swabs were taken as evidence and matched to the victim’s DNA.

Based on their findings, investigators had enough evidence for charges to be filed.  Mayer was taken into custody on February 5.

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