Woman accused of running over police officer appears in court


MISSOULA, Mont. - The wanted parolee accused of running over a Missoula police officer Monday was released from the hospital and appeared in Missoula County Justice Court Wednesday, while Officer Deni Poling remains hospitalized in serious condition.

NBC Montana was on scene Monday night in the McDonalds parking lot on East Broadway as police began searching for the 47-year-old Dawnette Eaton. They say Eaton fled the scene after she ran over Poling when Poling attempted to arrest her for violating probation.

Police say Officer Poling's partner shot Eaton in the arm as she fled the scene, and police arrested her hours later at a friend's house.

Today doctors released Eaton into law enforcement custody, and prosecutors charged the woman with two felonies for escape and fleeing the scene of an accident.

Because Eaton was already wanted for violating probation, Judge Odlin set bail at $250,000.

Missoula County Sheriff's Department Detective Jason Johnson said Officer Poling underwent surgery Tuesday on her crushed hip, and doctors are prepping her for another surgery on her leg.

"She's a strong person, and she's got a long, very painful recovery. It's going to take a while, but she'll be able to get through it," said Johnson. "We have great people who work in this city, and they've just rallied together to do everything we can to help out the officers and also to investigate the case."

A fund's been set up to help Poling pay for any costs not covered by her insurance. To help, visit any First Interstate Bank and make a donation in Poling's name.

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