Prosecutor: Suspect Hit Wrong Man In Fatal Hit-And-Run

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors say a Wisconsin man who was mowed down in an act of revenge near the University of Minnesota was actually not the suspect’s intended target, and may have been killed in a case of mistaken identity.

Timothy Bakdash, 29, of Roseville, hit the wrong person, Charles Laszewski, a spokesman for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, told The St. Paul Pioneer Press ( for a story published Friday.

Authorities had initially said Backdash intended to hit Benjamin Van Handel, 23, of Appleton, Wis., on April 15 after the two got into an argument. They said Bakdash used his car to hit Van Handel.

“Basically, what the investigation has been able to find is that Van Handel was with people all night, he was never in a fight, he was never in an argument,” Laszewski said.

“Bakdash has said he was in a fight and by God he was going to get some revenge and he thought Van Handel walking down the street was the guy,” Laszewski said. “Mistaken identity. So there you have it.”

He said police are still trying to find out who Bakdash argued with that night.

Prosecutors said Bakdash was just as liable whether he intended to kill Van Handel or someone else.

The revelation came after a brief court hearing Thursday in which prosecutors agreed to give the defense transcripts from the grand jury that indicted Bakdash.

After the hearing, defense attorney Joseph Tamburino said he was waiting for more information before forming a defense strategy.

Bakdash has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. In addition to killing Van Handel, he’s accused of hitting two women who were on the sidewalk.

Bakdash is in custody on $1 million bail.

Van Handel was a month away from graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in economics. He died six days after the incident. The two women were seriously injured.

Bakdash’s mother, Diane Bakdash, 66, also has been charged in the incident. She faces a felony count of being an accomplice to a crime after the fact, for allegedly telling her son to get rid of the damaged car and signing the title so he could sell it to a friend, who called.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Pete

    Very very sad that someone lost their life over this idiot’s mistaken identity. Lock him up and throw the key in the ocean next to Osama!

  • Bob

    Its is absurd that our society continues to ban drugs but by far the worst drug is alcohol. This is not to excuse Bakdash’s behavior. He deserves to fry. But there is no drug that carries with it the level of violence and mayhem that alcohol does. There are many deaths associated with crack and cocaine. But most of those are turf wars. But with alcohol it is participants themselves. We truly as a nation strain the gnat and swallow the camel.

    • debra

      So glad to hear you say that Bob, i completely agree and i’m only 31. Alchohol completely changes a persons mind and affects every choice they make!!

    • @bob

      Thats fine Bob you can have your cokeheads,crack addicts,heroin users, and methheads. I will stick to drinking Rum with my friends having an unbelievable time, and occasionaly embarassing myself a little.

  • Kendra

    What’s he want? A do-over? He and his mother are disgusting.

    • Guy

      It was an “ooopsie” & therefore shouldn’t count …

  • tom

    murder here murder there—all the same throw em in & throw away the key

  • Jackie

    The family of the victim has been through so much. My prayers are with them.

  • hate the system

    i agree, lock him up and throw away the key, they shouldn’t even be feeding this “human” … sadly this kid will probably take a plea deal that will only put him away for 30 years minus good time served, so he will see the outside world again (which he doesn’t deserve)

  • Ellen

    And I’m still wondering why they don’t show a picture of Bakdash?

    • Auntie Venom

      Daddy has the juice to keep it out of the media.

  • We

    Smash him with a full concrete truck at 65 M.P.H.

  • jeff

    “samuel adams, always a good decision”………….hmmmmm. a mothers first instinct is always to protect her children no matter what. i can’t blame her too much….i think mine would do the same thing. but as for him, a qoute from family guy will suffice, “you’re a phone call away from getting a human booster shot from a guy named molly”……

  • Sarah in Outstate MN

    That is sad. A contributing person to society had to die because of mistaken identity.

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