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Friday, March 31, 2023

Motorist sentenced to 6 years in woman’s fatal hit-and-run on St. Paul’s East Side

On Wednesday, a driver who struck and killed a pedestrian on St. Paul’s East Side last year and fled the scene was given a sentence of more than six years in jail.

My Ger Vang, 34, was killed on December 20 while strolling close to the junction of Third Street and White Bear Avenue. Michael John Friend, 65, of St. Paul, admitted guilt to criminal vehicular murder in June.

On Wednesday, Ramsey County District Judge Edward Sheu turned down a county public defender’s request for a downward dispositional deviation from state standards and a stay of execution and probation for Friend.

The minimum sentence allowed under the conviction’s sentencing guidelines—75 months—was imposed on Friend. The presumptive sentence under the guidelines is 88 months.

Friend will be given credit for the 233 days that have already been spent in jail.

According to the criminal complaint, Friend struck Vang while driving a white 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan close to the junction of Third Street and White Bear Avenue at 8:30 p.m.

Vang was discovered by police lying unconscious in the street with severe wounds. Later, she passed away at Regions Hospital.

According to the complaint, Friend turned himself up the next day and acknowledged driving the minivan that struck Vang.

According to the complaint, he told officers, “I’m the one who hit that lady.” “I accept full responsibility for what occurred,”

He was traveling with a lady who claimed Friend had taken her car without her consent and subsequently acknowledged he had been in an accident. She reported to the police that he informed her he had hit someone before fleeing the area.

A friend informed her that the crash had damaged her windshield. When he sped off, he declared that he thought Vang was still alive.

The minivan was discovered by St. Paul police officers parked in a lot near Earl Street and Mounds Boulevard. The glass was cracked, and the front end was damaged close to the passenger side.

Erik Sandvick, Friend’s attorney, said in a court document dated August 4 that Friend “panicked and drove away” but afterwards turned himself in to police. Through his acts, he contributed to the case’s resolution and began Ms. Vang’s family’s journey toward closure, the author said. Even while his acts don’t amount to a legal defense, they do demonstrate his acceptance of responsibility for his deeds.

According to police records, Friend was not speeding, weaving, or driving carelessly at the time of the collision, Sandvick said. Vang went out onto the street between two cars, not at a crosswalk or an intersection, he observed.

According to Sandvick, Vang had a blood alcohol percentage of 0.21 percent and amphetamine and methamphetamine were found in his system.

Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Ambrosia Mosby-Velasco argued in a brief on Tuesday that the judge should adhere to the sentencing guidelines, pointing out that Friend had previously been found guilty of several misdemeanors, severe misdemeanors, and crimes.

After being found guilty of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon in July 2020, Friend was on probation at the time of the hit-and-run, “which the state feels is a demonstrating that he is not especially receptive to probation,” Mosby-Velasco wrote.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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