Woman charged with 1st-degree murder after ex-spouse dies in hit and run

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Lethbridge police laid a charge of first-degree murder on Wednesday in connection with a 2020 hit-and-run collision. The victim and alleged driver were in a common-law relationship until 2017. (Sarah Lawrynuik/CBC - image credit)
Lethbridge police laid a charge of first-degree murder on Wednesday in connection with a 2020 hit-and-run collision. The victim and alleged driver were in a common-law relationship until 2017. (Sarah Lawrynuik/CBC - image credit)

Lethbridge police have laid a charge of first-degree murder in connection with a 2020 hit-and-run collision that killed the accused woman's ex-spouse.

Melissa Whitegrass, 37, of Lethbridge was arrested on March 2 and charged with first-degree murder, dangerous driving causing death and assault with a weapon.

According to a release, police responded to a report of a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian in an alley near 9th Avenue and 13th Street South at approximately 4:40 p.m. on June 1, 2020.

Before police arrived, the alleged offending vehicle — a 2005 yellow Dodge Ram — drove away from the scene.

Austin Forsyth, 30, was found at the scene and taken to Chinook Regional Hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

Whitegrass is now in custody and a court appearance is scheduled for March 9. According to police, Whitegrass and Forsyth were involved in a common-law relationship until 2017.

Police said though the incident is being treated as an instance of domestic violence, there were no other incidents reported to the police service prior to the incident in 2020.