Charges: Campbell's reckless driving caused girlfriend's death

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

In his short driving career, Michael Campbell has acquired a list of speeding, careless driving and hit-and-run charges. Now, he faces two criminal vehicular homicide counts in the death of his girlfriend, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Campbell, 21, of Minneapolis was charged with criminal vehicular homicide-operating in a grossly negligent manner and criminal vehicular homicide-driver causing the collision leaves the scene in the death of 20-year-old Ria Patel after Campbell crashed his car and then ran away. He is expected to make his first court appearance Thursday.

According to the criminal complaint, a woman was coming off of westbound I-35W when she heard a loud crash and saw a red Ford Focus bouncing off the semaphore at Stinson Boulevard near Ridgeway Parkway about 3:40 a.m. Sunday.

She then watched Campbell get out of the car and run to a nearby McDonald’s. She called 911 and then saw Campbell return to the car and dig around for something in the driver’s side of the vehicle. The witness walked toward him and Campbell told her to call 911. She told him she had and police were on the way, at which point he ran east toward the Honeywell parking lot, the complaint states.

A second witness, an employee at Honeywell, saw Campbell running through the parking lot holding a cell phone and then watched as he jumped the fence along the 35W exit ramp, according to the complaint.

When police arrived, they found the Focus was pointed southbound in the northbound lane of the divided road. The entire passenger side of the car was crushed and the passenger side roof had buckled. Both air bags had deployed and there were no visible skid marks. Paramedics worked on Patel, who was in the passenger seat, but pronounced her dead at the scene, the complaint states.

Campbell left his wallet at the scene and officers went to his house. Friends there said they did not know he had left the house and one described him as “super drunk” earlier in the morning. Campbell was on probation from a January conviction of misdemeanor hit-and-run, according to the complaint.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)