Hit-and-run driver might be charged with first degree murderby Amy Forliti, Associated Press
Minneapolis (AP) — A man became so enraged after an argument in a bar near the University of Minnesota that he purposely drove onto a sidewalk and plowed into a group of pedestrians, later telling a witness that he intended to kill three people and "had no remorse," according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
Timothy Ayman Bakdash, 29, of Roseville, was charged with one count of intentional second-degree murder and two counts of second degree assault for the April 15 crash that killed one man and injured two women.
"Bakdash apparently arrived in an altercation or discussion in a bar in Dinkytown and rather than resolve the matter through conversation or fists decided to use his car as a dangerous weapon," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.
Benjamin Van Handel, 23, of Appleton, Wis., died last week from his injuries. Authorities said it appeared he and Bakdash didn't know each other before the altercation at the Library Bar, but Bakdash sought out Van Handel afterward and mowed him down.
It appeared Bakdash might have mistaken the identity of the two women, who were in a different bar that night celebrating their admission into graduate school and met up with Van Handel on the sidewalk, said Minneapolis police Capt. Amelia Huffman.
Freeman said authorities plan to present the case to a grand jury for a charge of first-degree murder, which includes premeditation.
"He had made the statement to witnesses who came forward that he intended to kill people and that he didn't feel bad about it," Huffman said.
Bakdash was in custody Monday on $1 million bail. His first court appearance was scheduled for Tuesday, and his attorney's name was not immediately available. A message left with his mother was not immediately returned.
Authorities said they were still piecing together evidence on Monday and did not know what started the initial altercation. Huffman said it appeared to be a typical bar argument that created "bruised feelings."
According to the criminal complaint, Bakdash told a witness identified as B.B. that he had gotten into a "car accident." Bakdash allegedly told B.B. that he had "quite a few" drinks at the Library Bar and got into an altercation with two men and two women. Bakdash told B.B. that he continued to argue with the man outside the bar, but the man walked away.
So Bakdash allegedly got into his Mitsubishi Galant, saw the man he was looking for, went the wrong way down a one-way street, drove onto the sidewalk at roughly 30 to 60 mph and struck the pedestrians, the complaint said.
He told B.B. he "intended to hit and kill three of the people there," the complaint said, and that he had no remorse.
B.B. told police that Bakdash sold him the Mitsubishi for $1,500, and that he heard Bakdash speaking with his mother, who advised him to get rid of the car and said she would sign the title. When B.B. bought the car, the title contained Bakdash's mother's signature.
The windshield was smashed and there were dents in the vehicle, the complaint said.
When asked if Bakdash's mother could face charges, Freeman said the investigation was ongoing.
Huffman said several witnesses have come forward, and the Mitsubishi is being examined by investigators.
The criminal complaint also gave some additional details of the crash. One woman walking with Van Handel told police she heard a car engine "revving" behind the group and turned to see the vehicle's headlights coming toward her.
She said she tried to grab Van Handel, but he was struck, was carried on the hood of the car for about 50 feet, struck his head against a utility pole, flew into the air and landed in the intersection.
The criminal complaint said Van Handel suffered severe head trauma. He died last week at the hospital.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)