Attorney for Janet Hinds enters not guilty plea in deadly hit-and-run of Chattanooga police officer; new court date set

Attorney for Janet Hinds enters not guilty plea in deadly hit-and-run of Chattanooga police officer; new court date set

May 10th, 2019 by Zack Peterson in Breaking News

Janet Hinds listens to testimony during a preliminary hearing before Judge Alex McVeagh at the Hamilton County-Chattanooga Courts Building on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Judge McVeagh bound charges against Hinds in the Feb. 23 hit-and-run death of Chattanooga Police Officer Nicholas Galinger over to a grand jury.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Updated at 4:24 p.m. on Friday, May 10, 2019, with information about McGowan entering a not guilty plea for Hinds.

An attorney for Janet Hinds entered a not guilty plea Friday in Hamilton County Criminal Court on charges that she hit and killed a Chattanooga police and fled the scene.

Defendants sometimes formally plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest during their first appearance in Criminal Court.

Attorney Ben McGowan entered the plea and waived her appearance. She will next appear July 11 for a checkup.

In the meantime, prosecutors will likely begin exchanging evidence with McGowan, building out their case, and the attorneys will work toward a settlement, dismissal or trial.

Hinds, who remains out on bond, is charged with striking Chattanooga police officer Nicholas Galinger as he and his training officer were inspecting an overflowing manhole on Hamill Road on Feb. 23. Prosecutors say Hinds consumed four beers and a Lemon Drop vodka shot at a restaurant in Ringgold, Ga., before she drove home. They also allege Hinds, 54, was speeding and didn't stop after she hit Galinger, which flung his body another 160 feet.

So far, McGowan has argued that Hamill Road and Galinger weren't so visible: A road sign over the overflowing manhole cover had lots its reflective cover, and the officers were dressed in navy blue and didn't have their cruiser lights on in the rain. 

McGowan also questioned whether Galinger was bending over to inspect the sign, and was therefore harder to see, during a preliminary hearing in March.

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