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Accused hit-and-run motorist makes first court appearance

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Margaret Renee Mayer, 35, is free on $30,000 bond today after appearing in court February 6 to answer charges of failure to stop and render aid. Mayer, of Houston, was arrested on Wednesday and charged in a hit-and-run accident on the night of December 1, 2013, in which 24-year-old cyclist Chelsea Norman was mortally injured. Norman died in a local hospital three days later.

The office of the Harris County District Attorney filed charges on Wednesday after a two-month investigation. Court documents describing the investigation reveal that a coworker of Mayer who had been drinking with the woman on the night of the incident told investigators that Mayer had telephoned her on December 2 and said that, while "extremely intoxicated," she had gotten lost on Waugh Drive and that her truck had been been damaged. Norman was found lying in the 1600 block of Waugh.

Speaking to the Houston Chronicle on behalf of Mayer, attorney Guy Womack assured the public that his client is innocent. "She gave them her truck to examine. They disassembled it at the crime lab and kept it for about four weeks." According to Womack, investigators found nothing linking the vehicle to Norman. The DA's office differs, saying that the state has assembled a good case.

Mayer is set to appear in court again on March 21. While free on bond, she will be required to use a Breathalyzer-like device that measures alcohol level to start her vehicle.

Norman's death was the first in a string of three cyclists killed by hit-and-run drivers in recent weeks. No charges have been filed in the accident that killed 42 year-old Stephen Belle in the block of Normandy on December 21, 2013; or in the death of Nabor Rosas Inclan, 40, who was struck down in the 8200 block of Harrisburg on January 12.

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