MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 72-year-old Blaine man is accused of drunkenly driving on the wrong side of a highway and causing a crash that killed an emergency dispatcher in February.
Richard John Morie Shaka faces three felony charges of criminal vehicular homicide in connection to the Feb. 17 incident.
According to the criminal complaint, officers were dispatched at 8:03 p.m. on Feb. 17 to the report of a fatal crash on the southbound lanes of Highway 252 near Brookdale Boulevard in Brooklyn Park.
Upon arrival, officers found two vehicles with extensive front-end damage. The driver of a Hyundai Elantra, a woman, was deceased when officers arrived. She was pinned inside the damaged vehicle.
The victim was later identified as 30-year-old Jenna Bixby of Nowthen, who is a 911 emergency dispatcher at the Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center.
Shaka, the driver of a Toyota Sequoia, was taken from the scene in an ambulance, where emergency responders noticed an overwhelming odor of alcohol emanating from him, according to the complaint. After a search warrant was obtained for a sample of his blood, it was collected and it was determined he had an ethyl alcohol concentration of .168.
Investigators reviewed surveillance footage from a traffic camera near the area. It allegedly showed Shaka’s vehicle traveling north on the southbound lanes of traffic before the crash.
Shaka, a pastor, is in the hospital recovering from his injuries. A warrant is being requested because he has ties to a foreign country, the seriousness of the alleged crime and risks to public safety if he were out of custody.
If convicted of the charges, Shaka could face up to 10 years per criminal vehicular conduct charge.