An 18-year-old man was charged Wednesday with three counts of criminal vehicular homicide for allegedly fleeing state troopers and crashing a stolen SUV into a pickup truck in south Minneapolis early Sunday, killing three people.
Dayquan Hodge of Minneapolis also faces four counts of criminal vehicular operation as a result of the injuries to the four juvenile passengers in the stolen Ford Escape he was driving.
The charges were filed by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office which said in a news release that it would seek a higher sentence than recommended under state guidelines, because his conduct was “substantially more serious” than most of these types of offenses, he nearly struck other vehicles, he did not have a valid license or insurance and he fled in a stolen vehicle.
According to the criminal complaint a Minnesota state trooper spotted the stolen vehicle at 1:16 a.m., waited for backup but followed the SUV, and when a backup trooper arrived, activated emergency lights to stop the vehicle,
Hodge sped away on Cedar Avenue South, blew through two red lights and was traveling at 80 to 90 miles per hour, the police complaint said.
Officers abandoned the chase because “it was traveling so fast that it was getting away” but a state patrol helicopter kept the vehicle in sight, the complaint said.
“The helicopter could not even call out the locations of the cross-streets because the vehicle was traveling so fast,” the police complaint said.
At times Hodge was passing vehicles along Cedar Av., driving in the wrong lane of traffic, the police report said.
Hodge T-boned a pickup truck at the intersection of Cedar Av. S. and 35th St., killing the three occupants of the truck, Kimberly M. Gunderson, 48, of Minneapolis; and husband and wife Sheryl Carpentier, 65, and Kenneth Carpentier, 64, who split their time between the Twin Cities and Arizona. The three had earlier left a neighborhood family reunion.
All five occupants of the SUV were injured. Hodge had surgery on his arm; a right rear passenger is still intubated and in critical condition; a left rear passenger suffered two fractured legs; the rear middle passenger had facial trauma; and the front seat passenger had minor injuries to his face and knee.
The police complaint said that Hodge admitted to smoking marijuana as they were driving around. He said he did not remember the crash but remembers being stuck in the vehicle. His mother, Kotrisha Brown, told the Star Tribune on Monday that her son will accept responsibility for his actions.
“He’s not taking what he did lightly,” Brown said. “He feels really bad for the lives he has destroyed. He is willing to take responsibility for the part he played.”
Hodge was booked into the Hennepin County jail Tuesday, where he is held in lieu of $300,000 bail.