Charges: Driver was swerving for fun before fatal West St. Paul crash
- Article by: Paul Walsh
- Star Tribune
- January 28, 2014 - 9:31 PM
A 22-year-old man has been charged with leaving a weeknight drinking party in an SUV packed with passengers, speeding and swerving for fun down a West St. Paul street while drunk before rolling the vehicle in a crash that killed one person and injured others.
Jon D. Devereaux, of West St. Paul, was charged Tuesday in Dakota County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol and a slew of other felony counts in connection with the crash that occurred around 2:20 a.m. on Nov. 14. Killed in the incident was Robert Espinoza-Blaeser, 21, of West St. Paul.
A blood sample taken from Devereaux about four hours later showed that he had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.12 percent, well above the 0.08 legal limit for driving in Minnesota.
He remains jailed without bail before a court appearance Wednesday.
According to the criminal complaint, which includes 21 felony counts:
Devereaux and his seven eventual passengers had been together at a friend’s house, where they had been drinking that evening. They left the party in an SUV owned by the father of one of the passengers.
One person in the SUV told police that a laughing Devereaux was driving more than 60 miles per hour down Bernard Avenue and ran a red light at Robert Street before rolling the steering wheel back and forth, flipping the vehicle.
Espinoza-Blaeser and others were thrown from the SUV as it crashed into a front-yard fence. Devereaux told the son of the SUV’s owner, “Oh, my bad, you better not snitch.”
Neighbors came out and saw the son of the vehicle owner behind the wheel. The son got the vehicle off the fence and drove away.
Officers arrived and found Espinoza-Blaeser dead in the road. Another passenger at the scene, a 17-year-old boy, was taken to Regions Hospital for a lacerated spleen and other cuts. All of the others were gone.
Witnesses helped police track the vehicle to a driveway a few blocks away. The bloodied son of the SUV’s owner implicated Devereaux as the driver.
When asked by police how much he had been drinking, Devereaux responded, “I had too much” and should not have been driving.
The son who drove away in the SUV could also be charged, according to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482
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