First, a disclaimer. I am not a lawyer nor do I understand the legal process. I had to ask how bail works. (It’s the most backasswards system I can think of.) All of these legal posts are my understanding of what is happening. I might be wrong, things might change, I might not get what all is going on. Sorry and I hope my legal folks will correct me and guide me as I discover our legal system in a whole new way.
A second disclaimer. I’m about to lay out details of the accident as I currently understand them. If you are squeamish or just can’t handle blunt talk about Jason’s death right now, maybe get a summary from someone else.
On Tuesday, I met with the prosecuting attorney for the criminal case about the car accident. To complicate this, I’m not actually allowed to be told things. Because I am a witness to the crime, the lawyer isn’t allowed to tell me what happened. But I’m also the victim of the crime and I’m allowed to ask. Here is my current understanding.
Driver 1, the man, has been in custody since shortly after the accident. He’s the guy we all knew about. He has multiple offenses for drugs, domestic violence, and generally being an asshole. (There is no charge for being an asshole. I asked.) The Star Tribune article made it seem like it was his vehicle that hit us. It wasn’t. Driver 2, the woman, was the one who hit us. She has multiple offenses around driving (driving without a license, etc), but nothing major.
Their altercation started earlier in the morning, about a mile north of the accident. At least part of it happened in a gas station parking lot, so there is some surveillance video evidence. The vehicles are on camera with her chasing him out of the parking lot. According to witnesses along Blaisdell, the two cars rammed each other and swapped lead position repeatedly as they raced south on Blaisdell going more than double the speed limit. Their racing, and fighting, ended when they crashed into us. Her car was in the lead, and so it was her car that crashed into us.
Driver 1 was in a relationship with the passenger of Driver 2’s car. I don’t think she had a restraining order against him, but that wasn’t a detail I remember especially well. This makes a difference, because initially it seemed like this was a domestic gone really wrong. Somehow, knowing that both parties were involved in the fighting makes it easier for me. That doesn’t mean that they won’t argue that he was a threat from which they were fleeing, but it the video footage and witness accounts make it less plausible.
The fourth vehicle involved, the other one on 26th, rammed corners with the second vehicle in the chase. Both vehicles skidded across the intersection and landed more or less in the lawn of the law offices there. The driver of that fourth vehicle was ok and was not transported. She remained on scene and cooperated with the police at the time. She is also considered a victim in this accident and as such, has the same rights as me. She is willing and planning on attending any hearings that it would be beneficial to have her at and is interested in aiding in whatever way she can in the legal proceedings.
The male driver and one person from his car fled the scene and left one person behind. That person was cooperative with police. From the woman driver’s car, two people were transported to HCMC, one stayed on scene. Of the two that were transported, one was released before police got to her, the other was cooperative with police.
I was transported to HCMC as a Jane Doe. Jason was declared dead on scene.
Driver 1 was in the car with someone with whom he had a No Contact Order, so he was picked up as being in violation of a court order. He’s been waiting in jail since then. The charges were laid on him last Tuesday. There are four felonies that boil down to vehicular homicide & fleeing the scene, and vehicular bodily harm & fleeing the scene. He has not pled one way or another and has been assigned a public defender. He was given bail, but has not made it at this point. His next hearing is in October.
Driver 2 was transported to HCMC and released the same day. She has been issued a summons to court for two felonies. Her court date is in October. Until then, she is free to do as she will.
We are in the very preliminary stages of this mess. The lawyer couldn’t say if this will go to trial or if they will plea out. If they plea out, we might be done with this before the year is out, but more likely it will drag on for awhile. If it does go to trial, I very well might be writing about trial proceedings this time next year.
I’m still wrapping my head around the sentencing options, looking for restorative justice programs, and generally trying to make sense of this mess. I will provide more information as I have it and as I understand it.
I am having Feelings. I am having a lot of feelings. It has been a hard two weeks. Honestly, I don’t really want to talk about it. If you have specific questions, I’ll answer what I can. But if you want to talk about Feelings, please don’t. I can’t right now. I love and appreciate you all. I am not trying to say don’t talk to me, just talk to me like a real person, not a broken one.