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St. Paul driver charged in crash that killed 2

  • Article by: ANDREW KRAMMER
  • Star Tribune
  • February 15, 2013 - 8:53 PM

A Valentine's Day celebration at a local bar turned deadly Thursday when the driver taking the group home smashed into a parked pickup, killing two passengers, authorities said.

Teng Vang, 21, of St. Paul, was charged Friday in Ramsey County District Court with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide. According to the complaint, he was driving "grossly in excess" of the 30-mph speed limit and on the wrong side of the road on Hazelwood Street near Arlington Avenue in St. Paul where he crashed around 2:24 a.m.

Vang is being held in the Ramsey County jail on $500,000 bail.

Chue Vue, 28, and Tou Vue, 29, both of St. Paul, were passengers in the back seat and were declared dead at the scene from severe head injuries. The two had to be identified by tattoos because their faces were unrecognizable, the complaint said.

A front-seat passenger, Chee Yang, 30, of St. Paul, was taken to Regions Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, said St. Paul police Sgt. Paul Paulos.

According to the complaint:

Yang told officers he let Vang drive his black 1996 Honda Civic from Malina's Sports Bar in St. Paul, where they had been drinking.

Vang was speeding and on the wrong side of the road when he struck a 2003 Dodge Dakota pickup truck parked on the east side of Hazelwood street. The truck's front passenger tire was forced up onto the sidewalk.

The Civic's rear passenger door was completely missing and blood was found on the left side of the Dakota's tailgate.

Vang, smelling strongly of alcohol and his clothing covered in blood, was on a cellphone when police arrived. The complaint said he refused to put the phone down and "was taken into custody after a struggle."

On the way to Regions Hospital to be checked, Vang allegedly said, "I was drinking at the Moonshine. I had about five Bud Light beers." He was treated for head and arm lacerations.

When in custody, Vang called his father for suggestions on an attorney. He allegedly said, "Jail is candy. Two to three years. I don't care," according to the complaint. A blood sample was taken from Vang for testing.

Linda Xiong, Yang's niece, said her uncle remained at Regions Hospital on Friday afternoon, where he was listed in fair condition. Xiong said Yang had suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

Both Linda and Van Xiong, Yang's nephew, said the four involved in the crash were close friends.

Debris littered the sidewalk Friday morning as the truck's owner, Kent McCarty, was left without answers after the police impounded his pickup.

"I couldn't go to work [Friday] because I didn't have a vehicle," McCarty said. "The whole back half of the truck was smashed in pretty bad, that's all I know."

Vang was charged with drunken driving in November 2009, when he was 17. He pleaded guilty and served probation through December 2011. Vang has also been charged with driving without a license or proof of insurance.

Andrew Krammer is a University of Minnesota student journalist on assignment for the Star Tribune.

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