Prosecutors: "Not enough evidence" to charge driver of car that hit Elyse Stern with homicide

Categories: Crime, Law
stern new rect.jpg
Prosecutors made the curious decision to go easy on Hernandez-Campoceco.
Hennepin County prosectors say they don't have enough evidence press murder charges against the driver of the car that hit and killed killed 28-year-old Elyse Stern while she biked through the intersection of East Lake Street and Cedar Avenue South early Saturday morning.

THE BACKSTORY: Elyse Stern, 28, killed in Saturday morning bike accident at Lake Street and Cedar Avenue

The driver, 27-year-old Juan Ricardo Hernandez-Campoceco, was charged today with less severe counts of felony hit-and-run and DWI.

According to Fox 9's Paul Blume, prosecutors cited the fact that Stern, riding without lights and trying to make a left from eastbound Lake Street onto northbound Cedar Avenue, crossed in front of Hernandez-Campoceco's Monte Carlo while he had a green light.

But according to police, Hernandez-Campoceco was "extremely intoxicated" at the time he hit Stern, and he drove off before being pulled over after an officer noticed his car had extreme front-end damage. Minnesota Statute appears to clearly define that sort of accident as criminal vehicular homicide -- check out clauses (2), (3), and (7) here (click to enlarge):

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Minnesota Revisor

In other words, we're as baffled as anybody that Hernandez-Campoceco avoided a criminal vehicular homicide charge.

The felony hit-and-run charge carries a maximum penalty of three years, whereas criminal vehicular homicide can land somebody behind bars for up to a decade.

Prosecutors also said an immigration detainer has been placed on Hernandez-Campoceco, meaning it appears he's in the country illegally.

:::: UPDATE ::::

A law student points out that the criminal vehicular homicide statute specifies a driver must "cause injury to or the death of another" [emphasis mine] in order to be guilty, the implication being that prosecutors may have concluded Stern was more responsible for causing the accident than Hernandez-Campoceco.


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14 comments
miki.takata.shiatsu
miki.takata.shiatsu

Elyse Stern was a friend too many and her loss has been devastating to  the community. This community of people didn't need a loss to remind them of beauty or life or living fully each day, they already do this. But as they deal with their grief and loss they have also started creating. A bike light, a helmet, better city planning for bikers- none of those things may have saved her from a very intoxicated person driving a car. But it doesn't mean we shouldn't try harder. I know firsthand that bikes are expensive enough when you are living day to day, and bike helmets seem so expensive. 

Here is the link to donate to this fund: http://www.gofundme.com/2hjvac

bobbingo
bobbingo

Had Stern been drinking? This happened just after bar close, so it seems a logical question. The prosecutors make it sound as if Stern would have been hit regardless of the driver's condition.

bobbingo
bobbingo

Had Stern been drinking? This happened just after bar close, so it seems a logical question. The prosecutors make it sound as if Stern would have been hit regardless of the driver's condition.

bobbingo
bobbingo

Had Stern been drinking? This happened just after bar close, so it seems a logical question. The prosecutors make it sound as if Stern would have been hit regardless of the driver's condition.

Richard Getchoski
Richard Getchoski

I saw a comment in the Star Tribune by a friend of hers wishing that the city would add dedicated bicycle lanes with barriers in each direction on Lake Street. As if that street isn’t crowded enough as it is. Take away an entire lane in each direction and it would be one long parking lot with traffic lights.

Richard Getchoski
Richard Getchoski

I am a frequent user of Lake Street and way too often see bicyclists riding at night, dressed in dark clothing, without lights or reflectors. This is not only against state laws but is against the basic laws of physics. Regardless of you are in the right, you will never win a battle with a car or a truck.

Randall
Randall

What if he'd been completely sober?

Maybe he had his right blinker on and was slowing down to turn right on to Cedar and then his buddies told him to keep going straight to Bloomington (where he thought the accident happened).

Or maybe he had his left blinker on and made a move like he was turning left and then kept going straight. 

Drunk impairs decision making. Maybe he could have decided to avoid the collision if he wasn't drunk. 

walkthisway
walkthisway

please turn off comments in the event of a death.








Jankowiak
Jankowiak

Please, please, please don't quote a law student for a story as important as this one.  There are hundreds of licensed attorneys in town, many of which specialilze in criminal defense.  This horrific situation deserves as much.

David Gabriel Robinson
David Gabriel Robinson

Does Rupar think he knows more about the law than the prosecutor? Can I get City Pages facebook stories that are not written by him?

Erik Seavey
Erik Seavey

A sad story for both of them. Could have been prevented by obeying laws surrounding operation of a bicycle and a vehicle.

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

lol "RuparNews". I wonder if the officers failed to record his BAC.

ludwitr
ludwitr

@Dan Mason would that even be admissible if it was recorded?

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