A Los Angeles Unified School District teacher pleaded not guilty today to two felony hit-and-run charges for allegedly striking and severely injuring a bicyclist with her Mini Cooper in Silver Lake and leaving the scene.
Molly Jane Hoene, 52, of Silver Lake, is charged with one count each of hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious bodily injury to another person and hit-and-run driving resulting in injury to another person.
The victim, a homeless man, was struck at 11:45 p.m. Oct. 25 in the 3000 block of Berkeley Avenue, near Silver Lake Boulevard, and suffered a broken leg, broken arm and fractured spine, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The damaged Mini Cooper was later towed to the Route 66 Collision Center at 6820 San Fernando Road in Glendale, prompting a call to authorities by the owner of the shop, who had seen reports about the crash on television, police said.
The LAPD reported earlier that the owner of the car was refusing to cooperate with investigators.
The criminal case was filed against the Ivanhoe Elementary teacher on Nov. 19, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, which described the victim as 52 years old.
Hoene was arrested Nov. 26 at the Silver Sands Racquet Club in Palm Desert in Riverside County, where she was staying with family, according to the LAPD's Central Traffic Division. She was released on $50,000 bond later the same day, according to jail records.
"Hoene is employed with the LAUSD as a teacher and she is currently assigned to ... (district) ... headquarters," police said.
Hoene's attorney, Michael Kraut, told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kevin S. Rosenberg that identity is a "direct issue in this matter." The judge agreed with Kraut's request not to allow the media to film Hoene in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom.
Outside court, Kraut told reporters there is "nothing to tie my client to this location."
The judge ordered Hoene not to drive without a valid driver's license and proof of insurance.
She remains free on bond while awaiting her next court appearance Jan. 23, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to require her to stand trial. If convicted as charged, she faces a potential maximum four-year state prison term, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Hoene was removed from the classroom at Ivanhoe Elementary School in Silver Lake, where she was listed in a directory as a fifth-grade teacher, when she became a person of interest in the case, according to media reports.