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Mom: Son was unlicensed, ‘feels real bad’ about crash that killed 3 in Mpls.

September 24, 2018

The teenager who sped from state troopers in an SUV and caused a crash in Minneapolis that killed three people in another vehicle has never had a driver’s license and was serving probation for theft, his mother said Monday.

Dayquan Hodge, 18, remains hospitalized in Hennepin County Medical Center with what the State Patrol said were life-threatening injuries stemming from when he raced down Cedar Avenue S. and broadsided a pickup truck at E. 35th Street about 1:20 a.m. Sunday. He is now in fair condition.

Kotrisha S. Brown, of Minneapolis, told the Star Tribune that her son was driving an SUV owned by his friend’s mother when it was reported stolen, prompting a brief State Patrol ground pursuit that was called off several blocks before the collision. Four other teenagers in the vehicle with Hodge were also injured.

Brown said she had “no idea” what her son was doing that night, other than that he left her home in the SUV with his friend.

“I didn’t know he would be driving,” Brown said.

After first being turned away Sunday from HCMC by security, Brown said she was allowed Monday to speak with her son.

“He’s not taking what he did lightly,” Brown said. “He feels really bad for the lives he has destroyed. He is willing to take responsibility for the part he played.”

She said her son and the friend were at her home earlier in the evening and found it odd that the SUV was parked around the corner. The friend explained to her, Brown continued, that “his mom lets him drive it all the time.”

Brown revealed a troubled background for Hodge, who was convicted of theft when he was 16 and was under child protection supervision for a time until a little more than a year ago.

Brown also said she has heard that one of the four injured teens at HCMC is not doing well.

The patrol is withholding the medical conditions and identities of the teens; two are 16, and the others are 14 and 13. Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson said all the names are under wraps because “they may be charged.” Potential offenses range from curfew violation for the 13- and 14-year-old, Nielson said, to more serious counts for the 16-year-olds and Hodge.

‘Wasn’t worth three lives’

Killed in the crash were Kimberly M. Gunderson, 48, of Minneapolis; and husband and wife Sheryl Carpentier, 65, and Kenneth Carpentier, 64, who split their time between the Twin Cities and Arizona. The three were returning from an informal South Side reunion on westbound 35th Street when the SUV on southbound Cedar Avenue hit the pickup.

The impact left the mangled vehicles just outside the front door of Matt’s Bar and Grill, a popular dining and drinking spot.

The patrol had pursued the SUV for about four blocks over roughly 30 seconds before easing off shortly before the crash.

Nielson said the patrol is working to determine whether agency policy was followed in this pursuit.

“This wasn’t worth three lives,” said Gunderson’s cousin, Natasha Gunderson.

A leading Minneapolis attorney who serves on various business and neighborhood organizations said he wants more emphasis placed on the young driver’s actions, and not so much on the propriety of the patrol’s brief pursuit shortly before the collision.

“Instead of calling out the criminal conduct of the 18-year old-driver — how he not only caused the death of three people, placed the general public at risk, and put four juvenile passengers at risk — there’s no discussion of where the parents of these kids were,” said Joe Tamburino, who practices criminal defense.

Along with her son, Hodge’s mother said, she’s thinking of the three people killed and their loved ones.

“My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by this accident,” Brown said.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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