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Woman, 74, to be tried in fatal hit-and-run

A 74-year-old Gilbertville woman, who claimed not to be aware she had struck someone, was held for trial Monday in the hit-and-run death of a 26-year-old Kristy Bender.

Patricia Maurer is accused of killing Bender, who was walking home from her job at 1:30 p.m. April 27 when she was struck by a car along South Township Line Road in Upper Providence Township.

Bender, of Royersford, somersaulted into the air and came to rest on the grass, witnesses said. She was struck with such force that her shoes and socks were knocked off. She later died of head and chest injuries at Pottstown Memorial Hospital.

At a preliminary hearing Monday, Montgomery County Magisterial Judge Walter Gadzicki ruled there was enough evidence to hold Maurer for trial.

Maurer was silent throughout the hearing as witnesses described the events the day Bender was killed.

"Oh God, oh God," James Harrison, a witness, recalled thinking as he watched the green 2003 Toyota Camry driven by Maurer slowly start to slide in the direction of Bender. After the impact, he said, the car kept going.

Joseph P. Green, Maurer's attorney, said his client was not aware she had been in an accident until she returned to her home and saw the damage to her green 2003 Toyota Camry. At that point, she contacted her family and insurance company. Later a family member contacted police.

Montgomery County Detective David Schanes interviewed Maurer a few days after the accident. Maurer said she "felt a bump or hit a bump," he said.

According to court documents, Maurer sent her son a text message at 2:25 p.m., the day of the accident.

"I damagded my car pretty bad ran into something side of road on county line rd-I did not stop and when got home-say the damage-its pretty bad."

John Walko, assistant district attorney, said Maurer should have known she was in an accident. The damage to the car included a broken side view mirror and a shattered windshield that left glass inside the car.

Throughout much of the hour-long hearing, Frank Bender, the victim's father, sat with his arm wrapped protectively around his wife, Kathy.

The family, Kathy said after the hearing, has good days and bad - mostly bad.

"Moment by moment," said Frank Bender, finishing his wife's sentence.

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