A suspected drunken driver with a revoked license ran into a couple bicycling in northeast Minneapolis late Saturday and then briefly fled the scene, sending the husband and wife to the hospital with broken bones and other injuries, authorities said Sunday.
The incident occurred shortly before 10:30 p.m. on NE. Marshall Street near Broadway, and also involved the suspect’s van striking two other vehicles moments earlier, according to police.
Officers almost immediately caught up with the driver, Stephanie Smith-El, 62, of Minneapolis, and “could smell the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from [her] breath,” a police report read, also noting that her speech was slurred. Smith-El admitted to drinking and driving, the report continued.
She was treated for a minor injury and then booked into the Hennepin County jail on suspicion of criminal-vehicular injury.
This was the third time in less than 3 ½ years that Smith-El has been accused of driving without being properly licensed, according to court records.
Bicyclist Jason P. Bradley, 29, of Minneapolis, remained in serious condition Sunday at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), a spokeswoman said. Bradley suffered broken bones in his arms and legs as well as a “severe laceration” to his torso, police said.
His wife, Kathryn C. Bradley, 28, also was taken to HCMC, with apparent broken bones in her legs, police added. The hospital didn’t have information on her condition Sunday, but she was not as badly hurt as her husband.
No injuries were reported among the occupants of the vehicles that were hit.
After hitting the bicyclists, Smith-El drove at least two more blocks north on Marshall until she crashed into a street sign, said Lindsey Voss, who witnessed much of the mayhem from her car and heard the van accelerate seconds before hitting the bicyclists.
“I heard [Bradley] shout out to her husband, ‘Jason, look out!’ ” Voss said.
Voss comforted Kathryn Bradley until emergency personnel arrived. “She was mostly concerned for her husband,” Voss said. “His leg was not looking good at all. … She kept screaming his name and ‘Help, help!’ ”
Marshall Street was well-lit and the bicyclists were riding one behind the other with traffic, Voss noted, “right along the side of the road. … [The van] was almost up on the curb.”
Voss said “it’s amazing that either of them survived. Both of their bikes were crumpled.”
David Smith said he heard a collision, and saw the van screeching by on the wrong side of the road. Smith walked over from down the block, where he and his brother were working on a construction project. About 15 people were gathering around the scene before firefighters, cops and ambulances showed up, Smith said, adding that he had seen other people biking on the street that evening.
Smith said Jason Bradley was not moving much after he was hit, and didn’t seem to know what had just happened.
“He was in bad shape,” Smith said. “He was very confused.”
In May 2012, Smith-El pleaded guilty in Anoka County to driving without proof of insurance. A charge of driving without a valid license was dismissed.
In November 2013, Smith-El again pleaded guilty to driving without proof of insurance, this time in Hennepin County. Charges of driving after her license was revoked and failing to stop for a traffic signal were dismissed.
Past instances of drunken drivers hitting bicyclists have proved fatal in the Twin Cities. In February, a drunken driver with a blood alcohol level of 0.27 percent hit and killed 26-year-old Marcus Nalls, an experienced bicycle commuter, on Franklin Avenue in south Minneapolis. The driver was charged with criminal vehicular homicide. In March 2013, a Minneapolis man pleaded guilty to a fatal hit-and-run of a bicyclist at E. Lake Street and Cedar Avenue S.
Between 2000 and 2010, an average of 270 bicyclist-motorist crashes occurred annually in Minneapolis, according to a 2013 study by the city of Minneapolis. Motorists were impaired by drug use or drinking in 1.2 percent of documented crashes, but because one out of five crashes were hit-and-runs, motorist conditions are often unknown.