A tragic hit-and-run accident appears to have been caused by a drunk driver. Our thoughts are with the family today.
This morning, Minneapolis Police were called to an accident at the intersection of East Lake Street and Cedar Avenue South in Minneapolis around 2:15 a.m. The caller reported a personal injury accident, but found a bicyclist deceased at the scene. The driver of the car that had hit the bike had fled from the scene.
Witnesses provided police with a description of the vehicle involved, and shortly after, it was located near Franklin Avenue East and Bloomington Avenue South. The driver, Juan Ricardo Hernandez-Campoceco, 27, was arrested after showing signs of alcohol intoxication, processed for DWI, and booked into the Hennepin County Jail for criminal vehicular homicide.
Campoceco will most likely be charged with criminal vehicle operation. Under Minnesota Statutes 609.21, a person is guilty of criminal vehicular homicide or operation and may be sentenced if the person causes the death of another person as a result of operating a motor vehicle:
- In a negligent manner while under the influence of alcohol;
- While having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more; or
- Where the driver who causes the accident leaves the scene of the accident in violation of Minnesota law.
A conviction under criminal law will not provide compensation to the family of the bicyclist killed in this accident. The family has the legal right to file claims against the driver and perhaps others under Minnesota’s wrongful death laws. The family can recover compensation for financial losses, like lost income, loss of companionship and other damages.
A bar, restaurant or other seller of alcohol may also be legally responsible for this accident. Under Minnesota dram shop laws, a family can file a wrongful death claim against a bar, nightclub, restaurant or other licensed establishment that sold alcohol to an intoxicated at-fault driver if the liquor was sold:
- to the driver when he or she was obviously intoxicated;
- without a license to do so;
- after hours; or
- to a minor.
The amount available to the family under the at-fault driver’s insurance is usually not enough to fully and fairly compensate the family. This is one reason why a dram shop claim is important. The other reason is because it is a deterrent to bad behavior. Bars should not serve liquor to obviously drunk people knowing they may seriously injure or kill someone while driving home. They should also be punished for violating the law and serving alcohol without a license, after hours or to a minor.
You can get a FREE consultation HERE with our bicycle accident lawyers, located in Minneapolis, MN. Attorneys Fred Pritzker, Elliot Olsen and Eric Hageman are Minnesota “Super Lawyers” for this and past years. Fred and Eric were named “Minnesota Attorneys of the Year” for winning a wrongful death lawsuit for a family whose wife and mother was run over by a semi-trailer.
The Minneapolis Police Department is asking for any witnesses to contact them at 612-692-TIPS. Let’s make sure justice is done.