New charge: Mpls. driver swigging vodka before killing man in crosswalk

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 12, 2013 - 12:48 AM

Woman reportedly was swigging vodka hours before she allegedly struck and killed man.

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Austin R. Conley

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A motorist who fatally struck a man in a Warehouse District crosswalk had been swigging vodka from the bottle before she went out with friends for a night of drinking, according to a revised criminal complaint.

The new details were revealed in the amended complaint filed Thursday in Hennepin County District Court against Teisha Y. Randle, 27, of St. Paul, in the Oct. 27 death of Augsburg College student Austin R. Conley, 20.

Randle, an unlicensed driver, raced from the scene and was picked up the next day in Ramsey County, according to police. Her car was found "hidden in the garage" of a family member's St. Paul home, and she told police she didn't know that she hit a person, the complaint read.

An additional charge of criminal vehicular homicide was lodged against Randle based on evidence that she had been drinking heavily in the hours leading up to Conley being run over at about 2:45 a.m., while he crossed with the light near the corner of 3rd Street and 1st Avenue N.

According to the revised complaint:

In interviews with police, people who were with Randle that evening at a friend's house said she was drinking directly from a bottle of peach-flavored vodka before they headed to the Imperial Room in the Warehouse District for a birthday celebration.

While at the club, a bottle of vodka was ordered for the table, and Randle was seen having at least one vodka drink. As they all left the club, a witness noted that Randle "was wobbling as she walked," the complaint read. Another person in the group told officers that she was concerned about Randle's ability to drive.

The amended complaint also includes information from an off-duty sheriff's deputy who saw Randle run over Conley. He said Randle passed a vehicle ahead of her as soon as the light turned green and struck Conley.

Randle then looked back before she "gunned it" and headed west, the deputy added. He estimated that she was driving 45 to 50 miles per hour as she fled. The speed limit there is 30 mph.

Under questioning, Randle told police she left the scene thinking that someone had thrown a rock at her windshield, according to the complaint.

Actually, the complaint continued, she hit Conley and sent him flying through the air, his shoes ripped from his feet.

Along with the new charge, two other counts of criminal vehicular homicide remain, one for driving in a grossly negligent manner and another for leaving the scene.

She remains free on bail pending a court hearing in March.

Randle's license was revoked at the time of the crash for violating terms of probation stemming from her conviction for driving while drunk in Minneapolis on June 30, 2006, at 4:20 a.m. State records showed no other citations on her driving record until Conley's death.

Randle's family said she was in college studying nursing.

Conley's relatives said he was a first-year Augsburg student who lived on the Minneapolis campus and was a business management major starting out in the music production business. He also worked at the Seven Sushi Ultralounge and Skybar at 700 Hennepin Av. S. in downtown Minneapolis.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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