Charge: drunk and traveling nearly 100 mph, man killed two young people

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A 55-year-old Golden Valley man was drunk and driving at nearly 100 miles per hour when he struck a Chevrolet Impala and killed its two occupants last November, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Philip Scottt Bertelsen was charged late Tuesday with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide-alcohol concentration of .08 or more and two counts of criminal vehicular homicide-operating a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.

The crash occurred just before 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 on Olson Memorial Highway near Morgan Ave. N. and killed Melvin Jones, 20, of St. Paul and his passenger Brandy Banks-Sutter, 21, of Minneapolis.

A Ford Explorer was stopped at the red light on Olson Memorial Highway and stopped behind it was the Impala driven by Jones. Witnesses said that a Buick sedan driven by Bertelsen was speeding when it slammed into the back of the Impala, which was shoved into the back of the Explorer, according to the criminal complaint (PDF). Jones and Banks-Sutter were pronounced dead at the scene and the driver and two passengers in the Explorer suffered minor injuries.

Bertelsen was slumped over in his car and was rushed to the Hennepin County Medical Center. A blood sample found that his blood alcohol content was .18, more than double the legal limit. In addition, information from the crash data retrieval system of Bertelsen’s Buick indicated that he was traveling 107 miles per hour three seconds before impact and still was at more than 90 miles per hour when the collision occurred, according to the complaint.