The 31-year-old authorities say was behind the wheel during a fatal hit-and-run in Blaine told investigators he believed he'd struck a dog or sign.
John R. Jones was charged in Anoka County court Wednesday with criminal vehicular homicide in connection to the Monday afternoon incident, which killed Bridget OKeefe Dunn. Authorities have said Dunn, 56, was walking her dog along 109th Avenue Northeast near Flanders Court Northeast when a driver crashed into her, then fled the scene.
Dunn suffered "extensive" injuries, the charge say, and was taken to the hospital where she later died. Her dog was uninjured.
Police arrested Jones later that day.
Investigators were able to track down the Blaine man thanks to witnesses, who took down the license plate of the white Chrysler 300 that struck Dunn, according to the criminal complaint. Bystanders said the vehicle was being driven "erratically" before it hit Dunn.
They also saw the vehicle involved in the crash briefly pull over about 100 yards past the impact, then speed off, the charges state.
Officers arrived at the residence of Jones' girlfriend within an hour of the hit-and-run, the charges state. She told them Jones had been driving the Chrysler earlier that day and took investigators to an attached garage. Inside they found a white Chrysler with "obvious damage" — its hood had been propped open and the driver's side was on a jack; it was leaking fluids, and had a missing driver's side mirror, broken driver's side headlight, severely damaged front fender and broken front bumper, the charges state.
According to Jones' girlfriend, he'd come home and told her he had hit a dog and not to tell anyone, the charges allege.
Investigators then spoke with Jones, who admitted he was driving the Chrysler to run an errand, despite not having a valid license, according to the criminal complaint. He then told officers he believed he struck a dog or sign while out, so returned home to look at the damage to the car, the charges say.
Jones made his first court appearance at 9 a.m. Wednesday. An omnibus hearing is set for 1 p.m. on Dec. 9.