A 25-year-old St. Paul motorcyclist with a driving record littered with violations was charged Monday with running over a 4-year-old boy on the way to his birthday party and then fleeing.
Ernest T. Jonas was charged in Ramsey County District Court with two counts of criminal vehicular operation in connection with hitting Tyrell Baymon on Saturday afternoon in the 300 block of Lafond Avenue in St. Paul.
Jonas is being held in jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.
Tyrell was still hospitalized Monday in critical condition with a fractured skull and a rib injury.
In a statement to police, Jonas said that the boy ran into the street and that he couldn't avoid hitting him. Jonas added that he took off when several men ran toward him, according to the criminal complaint.
Jonas was riding the motorcycle even though his driver's license is revoked. Between March and December 2011, he was cited six times for driving-related offenses that included speeding, failing to drive with due care and presenting a canceled, revoked or suspended license as a valid driver's license, state court records show.
This month, he was sentenced in Hennepin County to one year of probation for the December violation - the third time he had been cited for driving without a valid license. In May 2011, court records show, Jonas was cited for driving a motorcycle without a proper license or insurance.
According to the charges filed Monday:
Responding police officers saw the boy in his mother's arms, "gurgling and gasping," after he was hit on the residential street.
Numerous witnesses told investigators that Jonas had repeatedly sped up and down the street and was "popping wheelies," despite being told to slow down.
As Tyrell's mother was preparing to put him in her car for his birthday party, Jonas raced by and hit the child. The boy flew through the air and landed under a car, losing his shoes because of the force of impact. Jonas fled. He surrendered to authorities Sunday in a Shakopee hotel room after several tips came into police.
The motorcycle has been confiscated, police said.
"Not only did this man display a blatant disregard for pedestrian safety in our neighborhood, he fled the scene, leaving a child fighting for his life." said County Attorney John Choi. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and his family."
Star Tribune staff writer Anthony Lonetree contributed to this report.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482