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Charges: Drunk man driving 100 mph killed 2, released without bail


A Minnesota man was driving drunk at over 100 miles per hour when he crashed into the vehicle of a young couple in Minneapolis last November, killing them, according to charges against him.

Philip Bertlesen, 55, Golden Valley, was released without having to post bail Wednesday, according to multiple reports, which enraged victims' families.

"As you can imagine, the family is devastated by this," Mike Padden, an attorney representing one of the families, told KSTP. "When you hear the state request bail at $300,000, and then the decision is made for no bail, that can be fairly shocking."

After a five-month investigation, Bertlesen was charged Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court on four counts of criminal vehicular homicide and driving under the influence, WCCO reports.

Police say Bertlesen had a blood alcohol content of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit, and was driving 107 mph just before he smashed into a car that was stopped at a light at Morgan Avenue North and Olson Memorial Highway in Minneapolis on Nov. 3, according to reports.

Melvin Jones, 20, and Brandy Banks-Sutta, 21, were in the vehicle that was hit from behind. They were killed instantly, WCCO says.

Bertlesen appeared in court Wednesday and when Judge William Koch decided not to set bail, one of the victim's family members yelled at the judge and another family member shouted an expletive, KSTP says.

“To go into court and feel like they were taken from us all over again,” Margaret Morgan, Banks-Sutta's aunt, told WCCO.

Bertlesen was released without bail under specific conditions, the Star Tribune says. Details on the conditions are not available, but the newspaper says these types of cases usually prohibit the accused from using drugs or alcohol. Conditions also typically require chemical dependency evaluations.

Bertelsen's attorney, Robert Christensen, said his client has taken responsibility "for his relationship with alcohol," KSTP says.

WCCO says Bertelsen is due in court again on May 20.

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