Man charged in deadly accident enters plea of not guilty

Natalie Windham (Source: Moore Studios)
Natalie Windham (Source: Moore Studios)
Walter Holler (Source: Muscogee Co. Jail)
Walter Holler (Source: Muscogee Co. Jail)

By Mackenzie Patterson - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The man Columbus police say is responsible for causing a deadly crash that took the life of a Smith Station High School senior entered into a plea of not guilty to all charges in recorder's court on Saturday.

Walter Holler, 51, is facing charges to Homicide by Vehicle 1st Degree, Improper Lane Change and Failure to Report an Accident and Render Aid.  Holler will be held without bond for the charge of Homicide by Vehicle 1st Degree.

As loved ones filed into funeral services to mourn the loss of a daughter, a friend, and a fellow student, Holler will remain in shackles.  Columbus Police say Walter Holler was merging onto J.R. Allen Parkway from the Bradley Park Drive ramp when he allegedly failed to yield to oncoming traffic, forcing 18 year old Natalie Windham to swerve, her SUV going into the median, and then flipping and rotating.

Deyquann Jones said he arrived on scene right after the accident happened.

"Got out like any normal person should if I could help out or anything like that but really at the time there was nothing I could do," said Jones.

That is when he said, he noticed something was not right.

"Someone stated that the guy that cut her off was leaving and I seen nobody was making a move to do anything so I jumped in my car to try to chase him and see if I could get a tag or anything," said Jones.

For Jones, seeing Windham struck close to home.

"I have an 18 year old daughter at home you know, and I would want somebody to do the same thing for my daughter if they came up on the scene and she was in it," said Jones.

Jones told News Leader Nine his chase came up short though unable see the tag because Holler's tailgate was down blocking his view.

But, Walter Holler's cousin, Jim Hendrix, said he did everything he thought he could do to help by stopping after the accident happened.

"He didn't see where he was needed so he left.  He knew all these people didn't need to be there.  He didn't see where he was going to be of any help so he left," said Hendrix.

However, Columbus police say it is vital for any witness of an accident to stay on scene to help with investigations and to give aid the victim.

Jones said that is why he stayed and offers condolences to Windham's family.

"Keep your head up and try to force through it.  I mean not nothing you can say when a person loses a child," said Jones.

Both Jones and Hendrix said their thoughts are with those saying goodbye to Natalie.

Windham died from her injuries Monday night at the Columbus Medical Center.  Holler's case will now head to Superior Court.

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