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

Prosecutors made the curious decision to go easy on Hernandez-Campoceco.
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):


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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