A St. Paul man told police that he had been drinking at home and shouldn’t have been driving the day he ran over and killed a man, according to newly filed felony charges.
Kevin C. Vereecke, 47, was charged Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the crash on April 28 that killed Russell W. Bangert, 61, of Minneapolis, as he walked just off the curb on Charles Avenue near Vandalia Street.
A statewide warrant has been issued for Vereecke’s arrest. Messages were left with him Thursday seeking his response to the charges.
According to the criminal complaint: Police dispatched to the crash scene located Bangert, and he was declared dead at the scene. Video surveillance images captured him walking about a foot off the curb on Charles, where there is no sidewalk on that side of the road. Vereecke’s pickup truck swerved and hit Bangert, sending him flying 60 feet.
Officers soon located a damaged pickup truck nearby and a barefoot Vereecke in the back seat sleeping. Vereecke exhibited many signs of intoxication. Results of testing by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension showed that his blood alcohol content moments after the crash was 0.278%, roughly 3 ½ times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.
Under police questioning the next day, Vereecke said he had been drinking at home on the day of the crash, ran some work-related errands and then went back home and drank some more. He said he remembered little about the collision because “[I] shouldn’t have really been driving,” the complaint quoted him as saying.
Vereecke’s criminal history in Minnesota includes a drunken-driving conviction in 2009.
Bangert was released from state prison in 2016 after his conviction in Blue Earth County for the 1976 murders of his half-sister and her husband.
Bangert worked for an electronic recycling company in St. Paul. He was on his way to his bus stop after his shift when he was hit, said Tech Dump program director David Springer.
“He had a very good knowledge of computers and electronics,” Springer said. “He was quite consistent and was always doing his best.”