A man who allegedly held a large knife to the throat of a Lyft driver then stole his car and crashed in St. Paul has been charged with felony robbery, assault and motor vehicle theft.
Hehaka Hi Provencial, 30, was booked into the Ramsey County jail and charged in Ramsey County District Court Monday after he was arrested in connection with the incident on March 25 in St. Paul.
According to the charges, the Lyft driver was on his way to pick up a rider just before midnight when he saw a man walking, thought that was the person who had scheduled the ride, and picked him up. A few minutes later, the person who scheduled the ride called and asked the Lyft driver where he was.
The Lyft driver told Provencial that he wanted to take him back to the pickup site and drop him off. That is when Provencial pull a large kitchen-style knife and held it to the Lyft driver's throat and said "Take me to Minneapolis," the charges say.
Provencial removed the knife and the Lyft driver got out of the vehicle and fled to a gas station at 390 Maryland Av. and called police. Provencial drove off with the Lyft driver's Toyota RAV4, the charges said.
A few minutes later, officers responded to a crash near Edgerton Street and Iowa Avenue. The Toyota had struck several other vehicles and flipped upside down. A witness saw a man matching the Lyft driver's description of the assailant crawl out of the Toyota's passenger window and walk away, the charges say.
Officers recovered a knife from the Toyota. Detectives from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension collected a DNA sample from the knife and used it to identify Provencial as the suspect. The Lyft driver also identified Provencial in a photo lineup as the man who took his car, the charges say.
Provencial has prior felony convictions for first-degree aggravated robbery, false imprisonment and carjacking. He remained in jail Wednesday and is due in court June 4.