The drunk driver told Minneapolis police: “I hit a person.” Elyse Mary Stern, 28, died in the March accident.
A 26-year-old Minneapolis man pleaded guilty on Friday to the fatal hit-and-run of a bicyclist at E. Lake Street and Cedar Avenue S. on March 30.
Juan Ricardo Hernandez-Campoceco admitted that he was drinking before he hit Elyse Mary Stern, 28, also of Minneapolis, shortly after 2 a.m. He pleaded guilty to a felony hit-and-run accident and fourth-degree driving while impaired, a misdemeanor.
A witness told police that he had been driving behind the woman on her bike on eastbound Lake Street when the light turned green. As the witness turned south on Cedar Avenue, he heard a loud noise. He turned around his car and saw a woman sprawled near the intersection, according to a complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court.
Police responded at 2:17 a.m. and saw the woman lying in the middle of Lake Street, about 70 feet west of Cedar. She died at the scene.
Other officers driving to the scene saw a green Chevrolet Monte Carlo northbound on Bloomington Avenue S. The front bumper was damaged and the windshield had a hole the size of a basketball.
Officers stopped the car on Franklin and Bloomington avenues. The driver “appeared extremely intoxicated,” and officers asked him about the damage to his car, the complaint states.
“I hit a person,” he told them. “I’m not going to lie to you. I hit a person.”
Two passengers in the car told police that the trio had been at El Nuevo Rodeo restaurant before heading west on Lake Street. They had a green light at Cedar Avenue S., and as they went through the intersection, the collision occurred, the passengers told police.
One passenger said Hernandez-Campoceco stopped briefly but took off, saying he “had hit someone on a bicycle but it wasn’t his fault because the light for him was green.”
Because the suspect fell unconscious, police couldn’t interview him until 4:15 a.m. He admitted drinking about six beers and estimated his speed at 30 miles per hour when he hit Stern.
Hernandez-Campoceco said he knew that he hit a person but his friends told him “to keep going,” the court papers say.
Joy Powell • 612-673-7750