70-Year-Old Driver Dies After Crash With Stolen Kia in St. Paul

Police stated Monday that a 70-year-old woman who died in a collision with a person operating a stolen vehicle on Sunday was simply going about her business and was “dead through no fault of her own.”

Police are still searching for the Kia Sportage’s driver and passengers after it was reported stolen in Minneapolis. The collision occurs at a time when both locally and nationally, thefts of various Kia and Hyundai automobiles, namely those produced between 2016 and 2021, have drastically surged.

According to the police department, 256 Kia thefts and 212 Hyundai thefts have been investigated by police in St. Paul alone until the end of June, compared to 18 stolen Kias and 31 stolen Hyundais as of the same period previous year.

According to Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, information regarding how to take such automobiles without their keys and by disabling their alarm systems has disseminated over social media.

Fletcher declared on Monday that “it’s an epidemic.”

It is tragic that Phoua Hang of St. Paul passed away, according to Sgt. David McCabe, spokesperson for the St. Paul police. Investigators are “working diligently to locate information on any relevant suspects,” he claimed.

Around 10 p.m. on Sunday, police were summoned to the two-vehicle incident in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood. At Magnolia Avenue and Forest Street, paramedics declared Hang dead.

According to McCabe, the passenger, who was Hang’s husband, was brought to the hospital with non-life threatening wounds.

According to McCabe, Hang was traveling north on Forest when the Kia pulled out of an alley; the accident’s cause and circumstances are still being investigated.

The Kia’s drivers and occupants fled the scene, so the Minnesota State Patrol aircraft and police K-9s assisted in the hunt.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the traffic and pedestrian safety unit at 651-266-5722, according to the investigators.

According to Fletcher, the Twin Cities saw an upsurge in Kia and Hyandui car thefts starting six to eight months ago.

He claimed that stealing takes “literally less than two minutes,” and those who are skilled at it just need a minute or less.

The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office has often detained minors in connection with thefts of these automobiles.

The issue, according to Fletcher, is that this is more than simply vehicle theft. “These young people are driving carelessly. Police have been looking for them. Because they are aware that no one can trace them in a stolen automobile, they are employing these vehicles to conduct additional crimes. He claimed that individuals have used stolen automobiles to carjack vehicles, loot businesses, steal purses, and perform various types of street crimes.

On Monday, according to law enforcement, a Kia sedan’s driver struck another vehicle head-on while being pulled over for suspected shoplifters in Linwood Township, Anoka County. The Kia was thought to have been taken.

The Kia’s occupants were flown away from the site; the driver, 41, suffered serious injuries and the passenger, 30, from St. Paul, perished. The car’s driver was critically hurt in the collision.

Authorities advise owners of Kia and Hyundai automobiles to utilize steering wheel locking mechanisms. In addition, it is advised that no car owner ever leave their vehicle running, unattended, or unlocked.

“The St. Paul police department is dedicated to tackling this locally via prevention and a coordinated response with our regional and state partners,” McCabe said. “This is an awful national trend.”

In statements released on Monday, officials for Hyundai and Kia claimed that their cars met or exceeded the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and that owners with concerns can get in touch with their consumer help centers. Call 800-633-5151 for Hyundai and 800-333-4542 for Kia.

Kia America’s head of corporate relations, James Bell, stated: “Kia America is aware of the increase in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim level vehicles in your region. “As of the current 2022 model year, an engine immobilizer is standard equipment on all Kia automobiles.”

Ira Gabriel, senior group manager, corporate and marketing PR, stated that Hyundai Motor America is worried about the surge in local car thefts.

He said that “the safety and well-being of our clients and the neighborhood is and will be our first concern.” “… All new Hyundai cars come equipped with engine immobilizers.

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