Minneapolis driver charged in I-94 death, injuries

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 19, 2012 - 8:37 PM

The complaint said the man had been drinking before driving into three people standing at the scene of a rollover.

Two men stopped to help a victim of a rollover on I-94 a year ago.

Moments later, a minivan driven by a Minneapolis man braked for only a split second before plowing into the three at 59 miles per hour, throwing them more than 50 feet.

Eugene M. Farrell, 63, has been charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and four other crimes, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court on Wednesday.

The crashes occurred shortly after 10:50 p.m. on Dec. 18, 2011, on westbound I-94 near Lexington Parkway.

Iowa State student Marcus P. Andary, 21, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., was killed. Critically injured and left with permanent medical problems were Alicia A. Kaufenberg, 23, of St. Paul, and Keith M. Barnes, 38, of Minneapolis.

It took a year to file charges because the case is complex, with a complicated accident reconstruction and extensive medical records that needed review, said Dennis Gerhardstein, a spokesman for the Ramsey County attorney's office.

The complaint says the accident happened this way:

Andary and his female passenger were heading west on I-94 in the left lane when Andary tried to change lanes to exit on Hamline Avenue. Another vehicle prevented him from changing lanes. So Andary moved to the left to avoid that vehicle and his pickup truck struck a car driven by Kaufenberg.

She lost control of her car and it rolled onto its passenger side, slid and came to rest on its roof.

Andary pulled to the right shoulder and ran across the lanes of traffic to help Kaufenberg. Barnes arrived and also got out to help Kaufenberg, who managed to crawl out of her car, a Chevrolet Impala.

She and the two men were standing near the overturned car when Farrell came toward them, in the westbound left lane.

"He did not slow down, swerve or brake to avoid the Impala, until right before contact," the complaint states.

His minivan hit the Impala and the three standing there.

The minivan then veered across three lanes of traffic and stopped on the right shoulder.

About 11 seconds later, another driver in the left center lane ran over Andary as he lay on the interstate.

An accident reconstruction indicated that Farrell's minivan was traveling 59 mph at the time of the impact, and 63 mph five seconds before impact. The speed limit is 55.

Andary died at the scene. Barnes and Kaufenberg were hospitalized. She's left with permanent injuries to her legs, head and torso. Barnes has permanent injuries to his legs, abdomen and head.

Farrell was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. He was hospitalized with noncritical injuries.

Farrell is charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and four counts of criminal vehicular operation. A warrant was issued Wednesday for his arrest.

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038

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