The driver in a fatal Minneapolis crash that occurred as he was being chased by a state trooper made his first court appearance Thursday, the day after he was charged with two felonies.
Yia Her, 34, of St. Paul, answered to two counts of fleeing police in a motor vehicle in a manner that caused death or injury before being returned to the Hennepin County jail, where he has been since his arrest in the crash Monday that killed Brody Sotona.
Sotona, 20, who grew up in western Wisconsin, was living in the Dinkytown area. His passenger, Connor W. Macklin, 24, of Stillwater, remained in critical condition Thursday at Hennepin County Medical Center, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Her’s bail was kept at $500,000 during the brief hearing, at which he craned his neck to look for family members. His brother, who was present, declined to comment afterward.
Her’s court-appointed attorney, Julius Nolen, did not argue for lower bail because of a request from the Department of Corrections that Her remain held indefinitely. He was on probation following a suspended one-year prison sentence for a 2012 felony third-degree assault conviction.
His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 9.
He had a blood alcohol level of 0.16 percent after the three-minute pursuit, which began at 1 a.m. in downtown Minneapolis and ended when he ran a red light at Central Avenue and SE. 4th Street and slammed into Sotona’s car.
Her allegedly told police he fled the trooper, whose name has not been released, because his driver’s license was suspended. The patrol’s pursuit of Her and the collision prompted Sotona’s family to criticize law enforcement for its actions in trying to make the arrest. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman defended the State Patrol, saying Her caused Sotona’s death, not the trooper.