Lakeville soldier’s hit-and-run death may go to trial

Farmington man charged has long criminal history

A Farmington man with a long history of criminal convictions will appear in Scott County court Jan. 31 to face charges in the hit-and-run death of a 24-year-old Lakeville soldier last year.

Matthew Keely Hartley, 33, has been held in the Scott County Jail on $500,000 bail since his arrest last year on three felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide.

At Monday’s hearing, Hartley could accept a plea offer or choose to go to trial, which would start Feb. 6, according to court records.

Mollie Mahowald of Lakeville died Sept. 25 in Elko New Market after being struck by a motorcyclist that witnesses reported was one of two who were racing while Mahowald and friends were walking down the street.

Elko New Market Police records state the driver did not stop at the scene, and continued racing after another motorcyclist who had a female passenger. The motorcyclists reportedly passed police on the way to assist Mahowald, 24.

Life-saving measures were unsuccessful and Mahowald died on the scene, where she was with friends and her youngest sister.

After the incident, one of Hartley’s friends told police Hartley had called him asking for help bringing a motorcycle home because he had crashed it, according to police records.

Elko New Market police reported they found the dirty and damaged motorcycle on property where Hartley was living hidden under a canoe.

A Scott County criminal complaint stated Hartley’s driver’s license had been revoked at the time of the crash. It stated he had been convicted of a DWI in July 2016 and had another DWI charge pending.

Court records show Hartley has been charged over 50 previous times with convictions or guilty pleas on offenses that include domestic abuse, violating probation and no-contact orders, DWI, driving after suspension, burglary, terroristic threats, obscene or harassing phone calls, financial transaction fraud and check forgery and theft.

Mahowald served as a U.S. Army mechanic while on tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. She returned home late last year, joined the Army National Guard and was attending college to become a veterinary technician.

She is buried at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery.