Bail reduced for suspected drunk driver in I-94 wrong-way crash

The driver charged with vehicular manslaughter for killing two young Minneapolis high school graduates while driving the wrong-way on Interstate 94 made his first court appearance Friday.

Quoc Tran, 26, suffered some gruesome injuries of his own in the deadly Sept. 26 crash. He appeared in court in a wheelchair and a prison jumpsuit.

“He basically shattered his ankle, his forearm; his bones were sticking through the skin,” Marsh Halberg, Tran’s defense attorney, said. ”He has screws holding some bones. He’s on morphine, oxycodone. Broken ribs, collapsed lung, damaged liver, vertebrae damage – the list goes on and on.”

Prosecutors have charged Tran with criminal vehicular homicide, alleging it was his BMW that was heading the wrong way on the interstate that slammed head on into the car carrying Christopher Bunay and Diana Rojas-Martinez. The two teenagers had recently graduated from Christo Rey Jesuit High School.

Investigators reported at the crash scene they could smell alcohol on the breath of Tran. His attorney says he has not talked to him about the crash because Tran has been in the intensive care unit at North Memorial Hospital.

“I think both the state and the defense are waiting for the blood test to come back,” Halberg said. “The question is was alcohol involved? We don’t have physical proof at this point.”

Tran had nearly three dozen supporters in the courtroom on Friday. Halberg, his attorney, argued for reduced bail, pointing out that Tran has no prior criminal record and was badly injured and thus posed little flight risk.

The judge agreed, dropping the amount from $500,000 to $25,000 cash with conditions that include electronic home monitoring.