A 25-year-old motorist who investigators say was drunk when he crashed into another car stopped at a Burnsville stoplight, killing the driver, was charged Tuesday with criminal vehicular homicide.
Neftali P. Ramirez, 25, of Bloomington, was charged in Dakota County District Court in Hastings in connection with the death early Sunday of Erin C. Randall, 34, of Richfield. Ramirez remains jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail without conditions.
A preliminary breath test administered to Ramirez by a state trooper soon after the crash measured his blood alcohol content at 0.25 percent, more than three times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.
Randall was a 2007 Fulbright Scholar to Bangladesh and a recent past president of the Minnesota Chapter of the Fulbright Association, according to her friend, Michael Dorsher, a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire journalism professor who served on the Fulbright board with her. She also worked as a staff researcher at the Wilder Foundation and other social justice organizations.
Randall graduated from Le Sueur High School in 1998 and then from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
“This appears to be another tragic example of impaired driving that has claimed a life on our roads,” said County Attorney James Backstrom.
According to the criminal complaint:
Ramirez was driving “at a high rate of speed” on eastbound Hwy. 13 about 2 a.m., when his car struck Randall’s car at the traffic light as she waited for the light to change.
Randall’s car was pushed down an embankment and landed amid the reeds near a holding pond. She was dead at the scene, the driver’s side severely damaged and the gas tank ruptured.
Ramirez’s car sat near the victim’s, with him pinned inside. Officers noted Ramirez had bloodshot and watery eyes and smelled of alcohol.
While being transported to the hospital for treatment, the defendant told medics that he was intoxicated and had been drinking beer and whiskey at a bar in Bloomington. At the hospital, Ramirez told a trooper he was heading home from a friend’s residence in Savage and was unsure how much he had to drink that night.