The hunt is on for a fugitive accused of being drunk and driving 100 miles per hour when he crashed into a car late at night on Interstate 35W in Richfield, leaving a man in the other vehicle with crippling head, back and organ injuries.
Unable to locate their man more than three months after the crash, authorities in Hennepin County went ahead last week and charged by warrant Erik A. Fuentes-Ramirez, 23, of Bloomington, with two counts of felony criminal-vehicular operation.
In the meantime, the far more seriously injured of the two victims in the other car, Christopher L. Faulkner Jr., of St. Cloud, has battled traumatic brain injury, multiple broken bones in his spine, broken ribs, a dislocated hip, cuts to his liver and a kidney and respiratory failure since the Jan. 3 crash on 35W near 60th Street, according to the criminal complaint.
About 90 minutes after the collision, a test administered by the State Patrol measured Fuentes-Ramirez’s blood alcohol content at 0.197 percent, more than twice the legal level for drinking and driving in Minnesota, the court document read.
According to the charges:
Fuentes-Ramirez was heading south on 35W in an SUV shortly before 3 a.m., when he crossed “several lanes” of traffic at 100 mph and sideswiped a car.
Troopers arrived to find Fuentes-Ramirez reeking of alcohol and crying. He said he drank two pitchers of beer and four additional beers before getting behind the wheel.
“I got drunk, and I don’t know what happened after that,” Fuentes-Ramirez said to the troopers.
The car’s driver, Deandre R. McCoy, of St. Cloud, came away with a broken collarbone.
Fuentes-Ramirez also is considered a fugitive in several other cases in the Twin Cities, including: drug possession and violation of a no-contact court order.