Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Charges: Driver in crash that killed St. Thomas student said he ran because he was traumatized

The wreck killed 20-year-old St. Thomas student Ria Patel.

The man now charged with criminal vehicular homicide in the crash that killed college student Ria Patel said he ran from the scene after being traumatized by Patel's condition after the wreck.

Michael Campbell, a 21-year-old from Minneapolis, was charged Wednesday with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office announced.

Campbell was driving the car, his girlfriend Patel in the passenger seat, when it slammed into the base of a stoplight shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday in Minneapolis, according to the charges.

Three witnesses then saw a man matching Campbell's description run from the scene (which police had said was the case.)

One of the witnesses – a woman who was driving on the exit ramp – said she immediately called 911 after she heard a loud crash and saw a man fleeing. Campbell then came back to the ruined car and began digging for something inside the driver's side door, she said.

She approached him, at which point he told her to call 911 – then he ran off again, the charges say.

His girlfriend Patel, meanwhile, was still in the passenger seat. That entire side "was crushed," according to the complaint, with the roof buckled in and a huge crack on the windshield.

First responders found Patel "slumped over and motionless," and suffering from clear life-threatening injuries. They tried CPR but she died at the scene, the charges say.

A wallet with Campbell's ID was found at the scene, according to the complaint.

Campbell was arrested Tuesday at a home in Wright County. In an interview with investigators, he admitted to to drinking before getting in the car and said he ran from the scene because he was traumatized by seeing Patel's state immediately afterward.

Roommates of Campbell told investigators they saw him sometime before 2 a.m., and described him as "super drunk."

Campbell was already on probation for a misdemeanor hit-and-run from January, the complaint says.

He's expected to be in court Thursday.

Seventy-three people were killed in drunk driving-related crashes last year, state figures show. The Department of Public Safety says about a quarter of all deaths on the road involve alcohol as a factor.

A prayer vigil for Patel is set for 8:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Thomas, the school said, with the entire St. Thomas community welcome to attend. A funeral will be Saturday.

Students who want support or help dealing with Patel's death can also reach out to school resources here.

Next Up

Vineeta Sawkar

Vineeta Sawkar named as WCCO Radio’s new morning host i

She succeeds the legendary Dave Lee, who retired earlier this year.

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, December 7

The latest from the state health department.

no dancing

Footloose! Duluth scraps Prohibition-era ban on unlicensed dancing

Establishments had to have a license to allow the public to dance.

ted mann concert hall - university of minnesota

2 armed suspects rob victim at U of M concert hall

The two suspects pointed guns at the victim.

West St Paul, Minnesota - June 2019

Nine police agencies called in for crowd control after 2 shot in West St. Paul

Police say a large group "attempted to take control" of part of the crime scene.

Brooklyn Center police, Daunte Wright

Brooklyn Center approves $1.3M public safety budget, including policing reforms

The city will use some money from the police department for the new programs.

snow, slush

Snow impacting morning commute across southern Minnesota

A quick inch could make a bit of a mess on the roads.

40636734693_0ec9b711a6_k

Minnesota United star allegedly hit teen with gun in Argentina

The 26-year-old could face charges in Argentina.

Chris Finch

Hawks bury Timberwolves in 3-point barrage

Without D'Angelo Russell, the Wolves couldn't keep up with the Hawks.

P.J. Fleck, Gophers football

Kirk Ciarocca returning to Gophers as offensive coordinator

The architect of the 2019 offense will look to revive the Gophers.

Klobuchar - MTP - NBC screengrab

Klobuchar says Congress should pass law to protect abortion rights

Her comments came as the Supreme Court appears poised to weaken — or gut — Roe v. Wade

MPD missing Heard - crop 1_

Minneapolis woman missing a week is found safe

The 36-year-old hasn't been seen or heard from recently.

Related

hospital, emergency room

Charges: Driver was going 71 mph in 25 mph zone before crash that killed teen

The vehicle went airborne and slammed into the wall, killing a teenage passenger.

Schnobrich  U of M photo

Driver charged in 'catastrophic' crash that killed U of M pediatrician

The victim was on his way to work at the time of the wreck.

Judge weighs impact of mental illness in crash that killed city worker

Tyler Lenort was killed while out doing snow removal for the city.

Driver ran off after crash that killed St. Thomas student, police say

The driver ran off – police are urging him to come forward.

J R Jones - Anoka County Jail 2021.10.16 - Resize crop

Charges: Driver in fatal hit-and-run said he thought he hit dog or sign

The crash killed a 56-year-old Blaine woman who had been out walking her dog.

Logan Klennert

Charges: Driver on drugs when he hit, killed toddler in stroller

The toddler's 16-year-old aunt was also seriously injured in the crash.

University of St. Thomas

St. Thomas student charged over hoax bomb threats against the university

The 20-year-old from Blaine is facing federal charges.

Charges: Driver ran over couple because they 'freaked him out'

A husband and wife were killed while out for a walk last week.