Home » Idaho social media influencer, 38, is jailed for minimum of 2 years after she drunk 4 alcoholic seltzers and plowed into mom in tragic hit-and-run – who had pulled over to check her trailer

Idaho social media influencer, 38, is jailed for minimum of 2 years after she drunk 4 alcoholic seltzers and plowed into mom in tragic hit-and-run – who had pulled over to check her trailer

by Marko Florentino
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An Idaho mom-of-two who blogged to her half a million followers on how to ‘reach their dreams’ was a secret alcoholic who fled the scene after killing a woman.

Natalie Hodson, 38, was jailed on Thursday for crashing her mini-van into mom-of-three Kristina Rowley, 39, after drinking at least four alcoholic seltzers and getting behind the wheel.

Rowley, who was days away from earning her teaching degree, was building a house from scratch in the mountains outside Cascade with her husband and three teenage children when she pulled over to check the back of her trailer on Highway 55.

She died from her injuries following the hit-and-run in August 2022.  

Her husband Chris Rowley said in court: ‘She was my everything for 20 years. She was everything to my children. She was their counselor, cheerleader, teacher, mentor and advocate.’

Hodson first attracted followers after blogging about her return to fitness after the birth of her two children and peppered her social media pages with aspirational images

Hodson first attracted followers after blogging about her return to fitness after the birth of her two children and peppered her social media pages with aspirational images

Hodson had attracted more than 500,000 followers on her lifestyle blogs

Hodson had attracted more than 500,000 followers on her lifestyle blogs 

Hodson won a legion of online fans when she began blogging about her journey to fitness following the birth of her two children.

She set up a website offering lifestyle tips and ‘Mompreneur’ advice on how to launch an online business.

On her Facebook page she posted updates about her successful lifestyle and Army Major boyfriend to her 466,000 followers – but was already battling alcoholism and terrified about a possible breast cancer diagnosis.

On the day of the crash, she pulled into a hospital parking lot and began drinking hard seltzers in her van before a mammogram appointment, and drank more when she returned to her vehicle.

‘Then she made the horrible decision to drive,’ attorney, Michael Bartlett told the court.

A witness saw her plow into Rowley, who was standing outside her vehicle, between Beacon Light and Seamans Gulch Road and followed her in his car as she continued north.

Rowley’s 16-year-old son was in his mother’s car and watched as her killer disappeared up the road.  

Deputies stopped Hodson several miles away where she told them she thought she had hit a mailbox.

Kristina Rowley died after being hit by the vehicle in 2022

Kristina Rowley died after being hit by the vehicle in 2022

Victim Kristina Rowley, pictured second left, with husband Chris and children Megan, Carson and Hannah

Victim Kristina Rowley, pictured second left, with husband Chris and children Megan, Carson and Hannah

Natalie Hodson, 38, wept in court as she was sentenced to between two and 15 years after admitting the vehicular manslaughter of mom-of-three Kristina Rowley, 39

Natalie Hodson, 38, wept in court as she was sentenced to between two and 15 years after admitting the vehicular manslaughter of mom-of-three Kristina Rowley, 39

But Rowley was fatally injured pronounced dead a short time later after being transferred to hospital.

It was several hours before Hodson was tested for drink by which time her blood alcohol level had subsided to 0.085, just slightly over the legal limit of 0.08.

She was charged with vehicular manslaughter but prosecutors dropped an additional charge of leaving the scene of an injury crash after she changed her plea to guilty in January.

Ada County Court heard that she had already been struggling with drinking at the time of the crash in August 2022, and has attended more than 600 Alcoholic Anonymous meetings in the last 18 months.

Bartlett said she had become a ‘leader’ within her treatment community and gathered a large group of supporters.

Deputy Prosecutor Brittany Ford said: ‘She has admitted to being an alcoholic, and admitted that that issue started well before this incident.

‘The state cannot deny that the defendant has taken a lot of action during the dependency of this case to address her substance abuse.’

Hodson has not updated her Facebook page since August 8, 2022, the day before the fatal crash, and she has taken her Instagram page with another 84,000 followers private.

Rowley’s family described the Cascade school art teacher as an ‘angel’, who dreamed of attending her children’s high school graduations, seeing them go off to college, attending their weddings and meeting her grandchildren.

The court heard that Hodson had been found guilty of speeding three times in the previous 12 years and sentenced her to between two and 15 years in prison

The court heard that Hodson had been found guilty of speeding three times in the previous 12 years and sentenced her to between two and 15 years in prison

The scene of the crash between Beacon Light and Seamans Gulch Road north of Boise

The scene of the crash between Beacon Light and Seamans Gulch Road north of Boise

She later set up a website offering lifestyle tips and 'Mompreneur' advice on how to launch online businesses

She later set up a website offering lifestyle tips and ‘Mompreneur’ advice on how to launch online businesses

‘Our children are now forced to do all of these things without their mother to help guide them and celebrate their future paths,’ widower Chris said.

‘There are and will be those around them who will try to help fill the void of losing their mother, but none of these individuals — no matter how good their intentions — can fill that void.

‘They are not Kristina.’

Her sister-in-law Mindey Rowley said Kristina ‘didn’t live a life she could regret’.

‘She dreamed big and she achieved those dreams,’ she added.

The court heard that Hodson had been found guilty of speeding three times in the previous 12 years and sentenced her to between two and 15 years in prison.

Hodson wept in court as she told it she would willingly accept whatever sentence was handed down and that no punishment would ever be enough.

‘I stand before you today because I committed a terrible crime,’ she added.

‘I take full responsibility for the selfish and tragic crime that I committed, and I have only myself to blame for why we are here today.’

‘The deep, deep remorse, and overwhelming guilt and crippling shame that I feel is something that I will live with the rest of my life.

‘The agony and pain in knowing that I killed a woman — a mother, a wife, a sister and a daughter – It haunts me.’



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