Numerous felony counts have been filed against dueling motorists who got into a high-speed, rolling demolition derby in a residential area of Minneapolis that killed a man riding by in another vehicle.
Raheem Q. Meekins, 27, of Minneapolis, was charged Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court with two counts each of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation in connection with the April 30 four-vehicle pileup at 26th Street and Blaisdell Avenue S.
The other driver, Chelsea N. Haynes, 23, also of Minneapolis, was charged with one count each of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation.
Meekins was jailed Aug. 23 and remains held pending a Friday court appearance. Haynes was charged by summons.
Passenger Jason Ritenour, 32, of Minneapolis, died in one of the four vehicles caught up in the wreck. His wife, Gaea Dill-D’Ascoli, was behind the wheel and survived her injuries.
Ritenour was active in ExperTease, a center where participants get in shape doing burlesque, belly-dancing, pole dancing and other performance-type routines. He was involved in acrobatics, performed at the Renaissance Festival and elsewhere. He also had been an instructor since high school at Hwa Rang Do Martial Art Academy in Minneapolis.
According to the charges against Meekins and Haynes:
A sister of Haynes, who was in a relationship with Meekins at the time, threw a brick at his SUV near Grant Street and LaSalle Avenue on the edge of downtown. Haynes’ boyfriend also punched Meekins, who retaliated by hitting Haynes’ car with a brick.
From there, the combatants got in the two vehicles, and the drivers “ran their cars into each other” at various times as they sped along residential streets at speeds topping 65 miles per hour, the complaint read.
With Meekins about five car lengths behind, Haynes ran a red light at Blaisdell and 26th and broadsided Gaea Dill-D’Ascoli’s vehicle on the passenger side.
Ritenour was dead at the scene, while his wife suffered broken ribs, cuts, bruises and a concussion. All of the others were less seriously hurt, including the driver of a fourth vehicle caught up in the wreck.
At the time of the crash, there was a warrant out for Meekins’ arrest that goes back to two felony drug convictions in Hennepin County. He was imprisoned until March 7 and then put on supervised release to serve the balance of his sentence, according to state records.
Meekins was driving with a revoked license at the time of the crash, the state Department of Public Safety said. He has repeatedly been caught driving with a suspended license, according to court records.
Along with the drug offenses and driving violations, Meekins’ criminal history in Minnesota includes convictions for drunken driving, violating orders for protection in connection with domestic abuse, drug offenses and burglary.
Haynes also has an extensive criminal background in Minnesota, including convictions for drunken driving, drug possession, and driving when her license was either revoked, suspended or canceled.