In the final minutes of his 21st birthday, one of the passengers in an SUV that rammed into a pole near the Green Line in St. Paul last week has died.
DeShawn L. Perry Jr. died at 11:52 p.m. Monday in Regions Hospital, the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday.
Perry, of St. Paul, who was born on April 2, 1997, was among four passengers in the SUV driven by a suspected drunken driver when it hit a utility pole late Friday afternoon along University Avenue near Chatsworth Street. The wreck near the Green Line halted rail service for more than three hours.
Driving the SUV was Kanyi L. Williams, 22, of St. Paul. Williams was charged Monday in Ramsey County District Court with several felony counts of criminal vehicular operation. Perry’s death means it’s likely Williams soon will be charged with criminal vehicular homicide.
Williams, who was injured, remains jailed Tuesday in lieu of $75,000 bail. Court records do not list an attorney for him.
Three others in the vehicle, all from St. Paul, were injured but are expected to survive. They are Lamar D. Rodriguez, 20, Brian Trnka, 22, and Amber Schochet, 16.
“My son … was a young man full of life,” said Perry’s father, DeShawn Perry Sr. “He was a great basketball player, loved to sing and dance.”
During his son’s birthday Monday, the elder Perry said, “We did buy a cake and sing and pray.”
Police gave Williams a preliminary breath test soon after the crash, and his blood alcohol content was measured at just below 0.12 percent, above the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.
He told investigators that he had “consumed several glasses of a hard-liquor mix” before driving, according to the criminal complaint.
Metro Transit video revealed that the eastbound SUV swerved while passing other vehicles and changing lanes before Williams overcorrected and struck the pole, the complaint continued.
Williams told law enforcement that he saw another vehicle enter his lane and he “freaked out,” the charges read.
“He said he had failed his friends and deserves whatever punishment he receives,” the complaint read.