Roseville driver charged for January crash that killed 2 pedestrians

A 61-year-old Roseville man was charged Sept. 5 in connection with a January crash involving two vehicles in southeast Roseville that killed two pedestrians as they attempted to cross Larpenteur Avenue.

Ronald Andrew Jacobson Jr. was charged via summons with a single count of failing to stop after a traffic collision that resulted in injury or death and faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.

A second driver involved in the Jan. 3 crash, a 72-year-old St. Paul man who stayed at the scene, was not charged with a crime, said Roseville Deputy Police Chief Erika Scheider. The man was not impaired and was going the speed limit, according to a State Patrol crash reconstruction.

The crash, which was reported at 5:40 p.m. on Larpenteur at Woodbridge Court, a block west of Rice Street, killed two Roseville residents, 47-year-old Robert Blake Buxton and 45-year-old Meridith Nypree Aikens.

According to court documents, witnesses told police the vehicle driven by the 72-year-old hit Aikens, and then a second vehicle hit her again, dragging her a distance before driving off without stopping. Police identified the car as a 1995 Chrysler LeBaron.

Police received a tip that Jacobson had allegedly admitted to a man that he was driving the second vehicle involved in the crash and that he thought that police were looking for him, court documents say. He allegedly said he’d been drinking at the Tin Cup Bar on Rice Street and that he’d driven off after hitting something hard, because he was “in the bag.”

Police at the Tin Cup on Jan. 5 located the LeBaron in the bar parking lot and watched Jacobson get in it and drive off, court documents say. Officers stopped Jacobson for equipment and moving violations on Larpenteur and arrested him for DWI; he was also booked at the Ramsey County Jail for probable cause criminal vehicular homicide.

Evidence observed by police on the car, including damage to the exhaust and blood on the rear bumper, along with testing by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Laboratory, indicated that it was likely the vehicle ran over and dragged Aikens, court documents say.

Surveillance video from Jan. 3 at the Tin Cup obtained with a search warrant allegedly shows Jacobson drinking 10 bottles of beer before leaving the bar and driving home in his LeBaron, court documents say.

Interviewed by police, Jacobson allegedly admitted to drinking four or five beers on the day of the crash, court documents say. He allegedly said he did hit something while headed west on Larpenteur, noticing his exhaust was louder afterward, but that he did not stop.

Scheider said the complexity of the case contributed to the length of time it took for the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office to bring charges. She said despite video evidence of Jacobson drinking the day of the crash, authorities lacked physical evidence of alcohol use to charge him with any alcohol-related offenses.

Jacobson has been convicted of DWI-related crimes three times since 2002, including for the Jan. 5 stop, according to court records. His first appearance in court is scheduled for Oct. 1. Court records indicate he’s yet to hire a lawyer for the crash-related charge.

Last month, Ramsey County converted the stretch of Larpenteur Avenue where the pedestrians were killed from three to four lanes. The county also added pedestrian crossings and stop-over islands to the roadway. 

The work is part of a county effort to convert all its roads from three to four lanes in order to increase traffic safety. The traffic changes, according to Roseville Public Works Director Marc Culver, should be made permanent after the county resurfaces Larpenteur next year.

 

–Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813. 

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