(KMSP) - An 18-year-old is now facing charges after he allegedly stole an SUV, fled authorities and caused a crash that killed three people in Minneapolis last weekend.
Dayquan Hodge of Minneapolis was charged with three counts of criminal vehicular homicide for driving at least 80 miles per hour on Cedar Avenue and then slamming into a pick-up truck and killing all three people inside, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.
Hodge was also charged with four counts of criminal vehicular operation in connection with his passengers' injuries. His passengers ranged from age 13 to 16, and all four of them were hospitalized. One is still in critical condition, one suffered two fractured legs requiring surgery, one had facial trauma and another suffered minor injuries to his wrist and knee.
According to the criminal complaint, around 1:15 a.m. Sept. 23, a state trooper in Minneapolis saw an SUV on Interstate 94 that had been reported stolen. The trooper followed the SUV and waited for backup. Hodge took the Hiawatha Avenue exit and waited at the stoplight for Cedar Avenue South.
Another trooper had arrived and as soon as the light turned green, Hodge turned right onto Cedar Avenue. The troopers activated their emergency lights for Hodge to pull over, but Hodge immediately sped away and "kept accelerating until he was traveling an estimated 80 to 90 miles per hour."
According to the complaint, the troopers pursued the stolen vehicle, but Hodge was pulling away so they ended the chase. A State Patrol helicopter was overhead for the entire chase.
Authorities say Hodge ran two red lights, and after the chase was called off, Hodge went five more blocks, passed multiple vehicles in the wrong lane of traffic, ran another red light and hit a pickup truck broadside at Cedar Avenue South and 35th Street East. The force of the collision "wrapped the pickup around the semaphore and ripped the cab from the truck frame," according to the complaint.
The three adults in the pickup died as a result of the crash. They have been identified as a 64-year-old Kenneth Carpentier, 65-year-old Sheryl Carpentier - both from Bullhead City, Arizona - and 48-year-old Kimberly Marie Gunderson of Minneapolis.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said they will seek a higher sentence based on the fact that Hodge’s conduct was substantially more serious than most of these types of offenses, he nearly struck other vehicles, he did not have a valid license or insurance and he fled in a stolen vehicle.