Hit-run motorcyclist to be freed Tuesday, will pay restitution

Ernest T. Jonas critically injured a 4-year-old boy after popping wheelies on a St. Paul street, authorities say, then fled the scene.

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Ernest T. Jonas

A motorcyclist who admitted to a hit-and-run in May that critically injured a 4-year-old boy in St. Paul is expected to be freed from jail Tuesday, under a sentence handed down Monday.

Ernest T. Jonas, 25, of St. Paul, also was ordered by Ramsey County District Judge J. Thomas Mott to pay restitution in an amount to be determined.

Monday's sentence left Jonas with one additional day to serve in jail, and as such, was called "stupid" by Marcia Scroggins. Tyrell Baymon, her son, was struck by Jonas on a Frogtown area street on May 19 as the boy was getting ready to go to Como Park for his birthday celebration.

Jonas, who witnesses say had been speeding and popping wheelies before the crash, fled the scene, ditched the sports cycle and was arrested the next day in Shakopee.

He had no driver's license and had six recent driving-related offenses, court records show.

On Monday, Mott acknowledged there could be some merit to arguments that state sentencing guidelines provided insufficient punishment in such cases. But he ultimately sided with a probation department recommendation of 120 days in jail and five years' probation.

Jonas, who had been jailed 79 days already, was left with one more day because defendants typically serve two-thirds of their sentences in custody -- or 80 days in his case.

In pushing for a one-year jail term, prosecutor Laura Rosenthal noted how Jonas ignored neighbors' pleas to slow down as he drove up and down Lafond Avenue. Tyrell, who had been holding his mother's hand as he stepped into the street, was tossed into the air by the impact, she said.

The boy's grandmother, Marcella Scroggins Phillips, said that two other grandchildren screamed: "My cousin is dead! My cousin is dead!"

Jonas told the judge he was sorry for the damage he caused, and pledged to make restitution. His attorney, David Paulzine, said Jonas will be using public transportation.

Marcia Scroggins, who did not speak in court, said after the sentencing that laws need to be changed to require tougher sentences. She doubted that Jonas had learned a lesson.

"He's only 25," she said. "He don't care."

Tyrell, who was hospitalized from May 19 to June 29, still is recovering, his mother said. He walks with a limp and is sickly, often susceptible to motion sickness while riding in a car. She said that his skull was fractured near his left ear, but medical personnel saved his hearing.

"I'm just blessed that he's still here with me," his mother said.

Anthony Lonetree • 612-875-0041

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