A St. Paul man has been charged for the October car crash that seriously injured an 11-year-old boy.
Jess H. Benthin, 23, was charged Thursday by the St. Paul city attorney’s office with careless driving and failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, both misdemeanors.
The Oct. 27 crash seriously injured Bikram Phuyel, who required brain surgery at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.
Court records show that Benthin has several traffic violations, including speeding. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to exhibition driving, which was later dismissed after he successfully completed his sentence.
According to the charges filed Thursday: Benthin was driving northbound on Rice Street approaching Hoyt Avenue in St. Paul when he struck Phuyel.
“A vehicle in front of [Benthin], also in the right lane, stopped to yield to three children as they crossed from the east side to the west side of Rice Street at the crosswalk,” the charges said. “Defendant went around the stopped vehicle …”
The intersection is a crosswalk, although there are no painted markings, the charges said.
Benthin allegedly told police that he saw two children almost across the street as he approached, so he didn’t slow. He didn’t see Phuyel begin to cross, the charges said.
Benthin’s vehicle struck Phuyel, who was walking to Washington Technology Magnet School with his brother and a cousin. Phuyel, who survived the collision, flew over the vehicle and landed in the road. He suffered severe head injuries and spent more than a week in intensive care under sedation.
State law prohibits drivers from passing vehicles that have stopped at an intersection to allow pedestrians to cross.
A 2011 speeding citation for Benthin noted that “within seconds” of making a turn, his vehicle was traveling 56-miles-an-hour in a 45-mile-an-hour zone.