Mother and son arrested for hit-and-run killing of Jose Hernandez Solano


Dustin Hegner-Royce, 28, was driving his mother's Hyundai Santa Fe when he hit Jose Hernandez Solano, according to the St. Paul Police Department. St. Paul Police Department

Three weeks after Jose Hernandez Solano was hit by a car while biking home from work, and 10 days after Hernandez Solano was taken off life support, the St. Paul Police announced the arrest of two suspects.

Dustin Hegner-Royce, 28, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of vehicular homicide; his mom, Abby Hegner, 47, who owns the Hyundai Santa Fe SUV Hegner-Royce was driving at the time, was arrested on suspicion of aiding a criminal. Hegner-Royce blew through a red light and into an intersection around midnight on November 17, and hit Hernandez Solano hard enough to cause severe and irreparable brain damage.

If charged, Hegner-Royce faces up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine, while his mother could be looking at up to three years and/or a $5,000 fine.

Hegner-Royce has multiple convictions for driving-related crimes, including repeat offenses for driving without a seatbelt. In 2013, he was convicted of driving with a suspended license. 

Hernandez Solano, 54, and a father of three, was a popular kitchen worker at Brasa Premium Rotisserie in St. Paul. A GoFundMe account promoted by the restaurant has raised some $20,000 toward his medical and funeral expenses. Donations continued to trickle in over the weekend, and an update from Ash Reynolds, communications manager from Brasa, says the funds will be used to pay for transportation for Hernandez Solano's family members, and for his burial in Mexico.

On Sunday, a group of riders took a ceremonial trip from Brasa to the spot on Grand Avenue and West Seventh where the hit-and-run occured. A white "ghost bike" was placed on the sidewalk to honor Hernandez Solano's memory, and as a reminder about safety on shared roads. 

The Pioneer Press reports Hernandez Solano had actually been the victim of another hit-and-run just weeks before the one that took his life. The earlier accident left him with a "banged up arm," and he'd observed the driver who hit him had been texting while driving.

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