A man told Minneapolis police that shots had been fired at his car and he was driving away when his vehicle struck someone or something last Wednesday, according to charges filed Tuesday in the hit-and-run death of a 24-year-old bicyclist.
Abdirahman Ali, 25, was charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Jessica Hanson, who was struck while riding her bicycle on Pleasant Avenue S. near W. 28th Street around 10:30 p.m. last Wednesday. She died two days later.
On Wednesday, bail was set at $10,000.
Police say Ali ran a stop sign and was speeding with his lights turned off when he struck Hanson. He remains in jail and will make his first court appearance Wednesday.
Ali, who lives a couple of miles from the accident site, has had several scrapes with the law, including carrying a firearm in public without a permit, fleeing police and driving without proof of insurance. His license is currently canceled.
Nearly two years ago, his brother Ahmed Ali pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted aggravated robbery as part of a deadly shooting at Minneapolis’ Seward Market in which three men died. Ahmed Ali is serving an 18-year prison sentence.
Hanson, who worked as a server at the Republic bar in the Uptown neighborhood, moved to Minneapolis from the west-central Minnesota city of Hoffman. Her funeral will be held there Thursday, but there have been almost daily community prayer vigils near the intersection where the collision occurred as she biked to her boyfriend’s home.
Police have thanked witnesses for coming forward and providing key information that helped solve the case. One witness followed the driver and wrote down the car’s license plate, the complaint said. Police traced the vehicle to Ali’s address, where his sister said her family owned such a car, a baby blue Toyota Camry.
Police found the car Friday near his Minneapolis apartment. It was dented and the driver’s side window and a rearview mirror were missing. The car appeared freshly washed and the inside vacuumed, the complaint said. It added that a light-blue rearview mirror was recovered at the accident site.
One witness told police that she was driving south on Pleasant when her vehicle nearly collided with a northbound car whose headlights weren’t on. When the car passed, the other driver turned the lights on, the complaint said.
On Friday, a man identifying himself as Abdirahman Ali called the police department’s Fifth Precinct and admitted hitting a person while driving on Pleasant Avenue, the complaint said. He then said that someone had been shooting at his car, “so he took off and didn’t know what or who he hit,” according to the document.
Later that day, officers spoke with Ali’s mother. She told them he had admitted he had been in an accident and thought he had hit a bicyclist, the complaint said.
Police department spokeswoman Cyndi Barrington said Ali has declined to speak with investigators.
Hanson was the second bicyclist to be struck and killed in Minneapolis this year. Elyse Stern, 28, was riding near E. Lake Street and Cedar Avenue on March 30 when she was hit by a car driven by Juan Ricardo Hernandez-Campoceco. He was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty in May to felony hit-and-run and fourth-degree driving while impaired.
Immigration authorities also have Hernandez-Campoceco on a hold and he will be deported to Guatemala.