A 38-year-old St. Paul woman has been charged with hitting a woman walking on the shoulder of a Maplewood street and leaving her there to die.

Adrianee Laruth Powell-Onwuji was charged Monday in Ramsey County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the crash on Feb. 6, 2022, that killed 65-year-old Eri Nakamura, of Oakdale.

Powell-Onwuji was charged by summons. A court date for her has yet to be set. Court records do not list an attorney for her.

In an interview Tuesday with the Star Tribune, Powell-Onwuji denied hitting anyone and questioned why it took nearly 2½ years for her to be charged.

"I didn't do it," she said. "I don't recall striking anyone. ... I did crash my car, but I crashed into a Jeep."

Mark Haase, spokesman for the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, explained that so much time had passed before a criminal complaint was filed because "the initial investigation and reconstruction took some time," and then more time was needed to look into Powell-Onwuji's claim that the SUV was damaged under different circumstances.

According to the complaint and the State Patrol:

Nakamura was walking south on the shoulder of Century Avenue near 5th Street when she was struck about 7:40 p.m. Emergency responders took her to Regions Hospital, where she died.

Officers determined that car parts at the scene were from a Mitsubishi. Law enforcement dispatchers tracked on traffic cameras a Mitsubishi SUV with left-side damage and a missing headlight as it continued on Century Avenue, then west on Interstate 94. The vehicle exited the freeway at Hwy. 61.

A patrol investigator received a driving complaint from an unidentified caller concerning a silver Mitsubishi SUV with left front-end damage. The tip included the SUV's license plate. The vehicle, a Mitsubishi Outlander, was registered to Powell-Onwuji.

Troopers spotted the damaged SUV parked outside her St. Paul apartment building in the 300 block of S. Winthrop Street.

The troopers soon found Powell-Onwuji at her workplace. She told them she met a friend at Titan's Sports Saloon in Oakdale earlier on the evening of the crash. She said that her friend was arrested for drunken driving and that her SUV was damaged trying to push her friend's disabled vehicle. She said she was home by 8 p.m.

Powell-Onwuji said she did not recall hitting anyone. Soon after her arrest, she said "something to the effect that she should have realized she had hit something," the complaint continued.