Homicide Lt. Richard Zimmerman said police weren’t searching for more suspects.
When asked whether the driver who struck Hanson knew he had hit someone, Zimmerman said, “There was no way he couldn’t tell he hit somebody.”
Zimmerman said he didn’t know if alcohol was a factor.
Justin Berkman, Hanson’s boyfriend, said she was riding to his house Wednesday to have pizza and watch a movie. The area where she was hit was well lit and didn’t allow vehicles to park in the bike lane, he said.
“If he isn’t speeding without his lights on, this never happens,” he said, tears streaming down his face.
The suspect, who lives a couple of miles from the accident site, has had several scrapes with the law in the Twin Cities, including carrying a firearm in public without a permit and driving without proof of insurance. His license is currently canceled.
Sentencing in March case
Earlier Monday in Hennepin County District Court, Stern’s relatives gave poignant victim-impact statements at the sentencing of Juan Ricardo Hernandez-Campoceco, who pleaded guilty in May to felony hit-and-run and fourth-degree driving while impaired.
His vehicle struck Stern, 28, at E. Lake Street and Cedar Avenue S. about 2 a.m. on March 30.
At the time Hernandez-Campoceco was charged, Deputy Hennepin County Attorney David Brown said authorities couldn’t charge him with criminal vehicular homicide because they couldn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his driving caused the death.
Witnesses reported that Stern turned in front of Hernandez-Campoceco’s car, Brown said at the time.
Before District Judge Gina Brandt handed down the sentence, she heard the impact statements and thanked Stern’s family for offering a picture of the victim.
“It really brings it to reality for me,” the judge said.
Brandt praised the impact statements for focusing on the victim and not training only anger toward the defendant.
Robin Stern, Elyse Stern’s mother, said that her daughter rode her bike everywhere and that they constantly worried about her safety. Their pain and anger that Hernandez-Campoceco didn’t stop are indescribable, she said.
“Elyse’s younger sister has dropped out of college since the accident,” Robin Stern said. “Her brother has turned inward.”
Sue Kerr spoke on behalf of Elyse Stern’s longtime partner. Stern lived in a way that didn’t harm others, she said. A musician, welder and gardener, Stern was a perpetual learner.
“She was wise beyond her years,” said Kerr.