Charges: Duluth hit-and-run suspect took ‘aim’ at bystanders on bar patio – Duluth News Tribune
DULUTH — An intoxicated motorist appeared to intentionally strike three bystanders moments after she was escorted out of a Central Hillside pool hall, according to criminal charges filed Tuesday.
Desirae Lee Hansey, 29, of Rice Lake, will be arraigned Wednesday on six felony charges stemming from the hit-and-run incident outside The Break Room, 501 E. Fourth St., early Saturday morning.
Desirae Lee Hansey
A complaint indicates that Hansey was seen yelling at someone before getting in her car, driving toward several people on the patio, reversing, and then again accelerating, striking the victims. Three suffered injuries and a fourth narrowly avoided being struck in the incident, which was also captured on surveillance video, the complaint states.
Hansey, when arrested at her home a short time later, allegedly registered a blood-alcohol concentration more than twice the legal limit for driving.
Duluth police officers were called to the scene at 12:17 a.m. to find a broken pillar in the bar’s patio area and car parts. The victims and other witnesses all reportedly described how Hansey allegedly “positioned the vehicle and began to aim it” in their direction, reversing and accelerating several times before striking the pedestrians.
Raymond Kuntz, 53, was one of the first hit, taking the brunt of the force to his left leg. The complaint states that was taken by ambulance to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center, undergoing surgery for two fractures to his tibia. He also suffered a laceration and may require a future skin graft.
James Hester, 53, also was taken to a hospital and treated for injuries to his wrist, knee, elbow and ankle. The complaint states he also may need future orthopedic attention.
Dehl Sterling, 41, was the last person struck, according to the complaint. He told officers he saw the car hit the first two victims and was attempting to move his motorcycle out of the way when he was also struck. Sterling, who suffered unknown minor injuries, reportedly stated that he believed the driver “was trying to kill” him.
The complaint indicates that the fourth bystander, who narrowly avoided being struck, was able to record the car’s license plate. Police also found a vehicle identification number on a piece of the bumper left at the scene.
Officers went to Hansey’s residence, on the 3900 block of West Tischer Road, and found the car with fresh front-end damage. The defendant was reported to be “demonstrating signs of impairment, such as watery, glassy and bloodshot eyes; heavily slurred speech; and the overwhelming odor of an alcoholic beverage.”
A preliminary breath test placed her blood-alcohol level at 0.169, well above the limit of 0.08, according to the complaint. She was taken to a hospital for a blood test, pursuant to a warrant; results were still pending.
Police said a review of video from the scene also confirmed the account of Hansey backing up and accelerating several times before speeding into the patio area and striking the victims.
The complaint charges Hansey with three counts of second-degree assault and three counts of criminal vehicular operation resulting in substantial bodily harm. She remained in the St. Louis County Jail ahead of her Wednesday arraignment.
Hansey previously completed probation after pleading guilty to
aggravated first-degree robbery for her role in a 2012 Duluth home invasion.
Her history is otherwise limited to traffic violations and other minor offenses.