By James Schugel, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Police have made an arrest in the hit-and-run crash near the University of Minnesota last week that killed one person and seriously injured two others. A fourth student was also hit.

Timothy Ayman Bakdash, 29, was arrested Thursday for probable cause attempted murder in connection with the April 15 incident.

Court documents show Bakdash pleaded guilty to a careless driving charge in 2008. About a month later, he pleaded guilty to DWI.

“Through a series of tips and witness accounts, our homicide investigators were able to locate him,” said Sgt. Stephen McCarty with the Minneapolis Police Department.

Police brought Bakdash in for questioning on Thursday and later arrested him.

“Just good to know this person is not on the street and not a danger to anyone else,” said Joe Bailin, one of the students who was hit but not seriously hurt, after hearing the news that police arrested Bakdash. “I know I’m happy to see they found someone. That’s what I’ve been waiting for, and I know a lot of people have been waiting to see that happen.”

Bailin, his girlfriend and another friend were walking home from a Dinkytown bar late that night, after celebrating their admissions to graduated school.

Ben Van Handel, another student who they did not know, was also walking in the area. He died Thursday from injuries suffered as a result of the accident. He was set to graduate in May with a degree in economics.

According to Van Handel’s CaringBridge website, both of his kidneys and his pancreas will be donated to people in need. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and broke several bones during the crash.

According to the Minnesota Daily, Van Handel was walking a friend home that night.

Witnesses at the scene reported hearing a car accelerate before the three were hit.

Bakdash is in the Hennepin County Jail. The Hennepin County Attorney is expected to charge him Monday.

Comments (46)
  1. red says:

    Thank God now throw the book at him and make him pay

  2. Xiong Her says:

    just make sure they got the right person…if it’s him, put him away for life….make sure he don’t get out and do the same thing over again…..

  3. monie says:

    come on….. the judges should accept some responsibility in this case also. there shoud be some accountaibility on all parties. this is so sad but so common in minnesota. keep him in jail for at least 10 years so he won’t be able to kill someone else-no early out. you could put the judges in too or fined.

  4. red says:

    ok when you first posted that there was an arrest, there wasn’t any info about this losers driving record. If he had a DWI and careless drivng charge why did this loser still have a frickin license in the first place?

  5. bob says:

    Who said he has a License?

    1. Will says:

      True, plenty of these turds drive with no licenses.

      1. Lori says:

        and no insurance.

  6. m.b. says:

    what parties you talking about, these kids did nothing wrong, they were walking on a sidewalk, the car went the wrong way on a one way street, drove down a sidewalk, and hit 4 kids. If it is the correct person, he needs to be put away for a long time. He Killed an innocent person.

  7. Kally says:

    hay m.b. monie was talking about our legal system being lax on repeat drunk drivers even when they kill. Yes, how about putting a judge in jail if someone they let out early or let off easy causes more harm. They did not do their job of protecting us…

  8. Ali says:

    There is a full time fireman in Rochester MN who killed a man while driving drunk. He got the fireman job right out of prison because he used to be a sherrif deputy and had connections.

  9. D. says:

    Hopefully, it is the right person that has been arrested. Where is the accountability here? Already a record for DWI… somewhere along the line, the judges in these DWI cases need to be held accountable for the jail time/lack of jail time given. out for DWI. How many more innocent people have to die because judge/courts are far too lenient with DWI cases? It certainly doesn’t bring Ben back or bring back any other innocent victims killed by drunk drivers. The judicial rules/laws need to change-if not, this will always continue to happen.

  10. roger says:

    Minnesota never sends drivers (DWI) away for very much time. If you or I took a pistol and shot and killed one person and wounded 2 others how long would we be in prison? 30 years, life? Some how I find it hard to understand why drivers that kill someone get off so easy!

    1. captainobvious says:

      Donk savant, major difference called intent.

      1. Jack MeHoff says:

        Intent?! “Witnesses at the scene reported hearing a car accelerate before the three were hit” Sounds like intent to me. Of course his scumbag lair (whoops, lawyer) will pull out the stuck accelator defense and get him off.

        Put the slimeball in camo, give him a gun and send him to Libya with a passport, problem solved.

    2. Ed says:

      No you would only do 5-7 for murder but you would do 30-life if you sold a joint.

  11. Chris says:

    Mr. Bakdash has shown through a consistent pattern of behavior that he is a danger to himself and others. It is now the role of the Criminal Justice system to isolate him from general society. His swift and strong conviction should serve a warning to others that their unchecked destructive behaviors will not be tolerated. Hopefully he can be rehabilitated and get the help he needs.

    Thank you to the Law Enforcement officials that have worked to bring this man to justice. We know he will get a fair trial, and if the evidence supports the charges, he will be convicted.

    I’m so sad that a young man had to die for this. My thoughts go out to his family as well as others who live, work, and go to school in the area.

  12. Bill says:

    Make the charge second degree murder. This individual made the decision, once again, to drive drunk. Try him, convict him and sentence him to 30 years with no opportunity for parole.

  13. swerver says:

    Its comical that people here are saying why was he on the street. He had a careless driving in 08, and a dwi in 08, thats his criminal history. so he should be in his 3rd year of prison right now for a dwi in 2008

  14. Will says:

    I recently heard a statistic that 1 in 7 adults in MN have gotten a DWI or DUI. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to lock up 14% of the population for large amounts of time. Sad how many people drink and drive.

    1. JailerMan says:

      Can’t afford to? jails are big business that make money and jobs.
      There is a reason so many people are locked up right now and it’s sure the hell not to keep people safe. I know in Chisago county the jail system is a $4,000,000 a year industry.

      1. captobv. says:

        That we pay for, you should be locked up for breeding, you may be the least intelligent person in history.

    2. Geoffrey says:

      Will, I believe that it is more like 1 IN 4 in Minnesota have a DUI/DWI. Alittle FYI, Will…

    3. wastedyears says:

      well,then logic has it that ONLY us drunks should be allowed to drive!

      1. Ann says:

        My DAD drove DRUNK, and he DIED!
        I’m still SAD:(

  15. Derrek Hyland says:

    I wonder how he would feel if he had to sit and watch one of his family member’s die. Only then would he quit doing this. Let him rot in jail.

  16. Melissa says:

    How are they ever going to have enough evidence to put this guy in jail? The earlier report said there were no eye witnesses to the description of the exact car, let alone the driver. Even if there’s evidence on the car, how are they going to prove it was him driving it? I really hope the DA gets involved so the case is
    handled well.

    1. Ed says:

      The DA will handle it well!!!! Thats funny!
      If by handle it well you mean make a deal so that the DA get a easy conviction to look tough on crime then sure, get the DA involved.

    2. Aiona Westmann says:


  17. Fail says:

    Toyota = sudden acceleration = get out of jail

    1. Geoffrey says:

      Are you trying to say something? Yes, I’m sure you are referring to the incident in St. Paul where the this Hmong guy’s Toyota accelerated killing a family. He had to sit and suffer in jail for something he did not intentionally do – it was a Toyota malfunction. I guess people shouldn’t be too quick to judge, lets here the guy who hit these people’s story. He was driving a Toyota which may have accelerrated unexpectadly…

      1. Aiona Westmann says:

        Actually it was on the national news that the Toyota he was driving was fine….The guy had only been driving for a year and spoke little to no english. Me being of asian decent know personally (I drive alot of my relatives around because they have never driven). The whole legal system in MN is messed up my best friend was brutally murdered and mutilated (by people who had a VERY LONG CRIMINAL RECORD) and nobody got life in jail or the death penalty but if a pretty and popular person (who they “think” is an angel) gets killed his or her killer gets the death penalty….

        1. blah says:

          we have no death penalty here, your friend was gutter trash that does play a part in it

  18. Michael Miller says:

    what happen was an accident and the important thing is the victims and their families getting better.

    1. MAMA J says:

      @ Michael, What are you talking about????? One person is DEAD…. FREAKING IDIOT!!!!!

  19. Kevin says:

    I have to laugh at all of you people who comment and place blame wthout knowing the law.

    Judges don’t arbitrarity hand out sentences. They are bound by statutory sentencing guidelines. In addition, if a deal was made, it was made by a prosecutor, who perhaps offered some sort of deal in order to move the case along rather than spend an inordinate amount of money on a full prosecution.

    Moreover, even though this man killed somebody, we have varying degrees of punishment for varying degrees of behavior. I would assume that this man did not intend to kill anyone. If he did, that would be first degree murder, and would command a life sentence.

    Always remember, but for the grace of God goes you!

  20. Fail says:

    The driver is being charged with attempted murder. So the county attorney’s office is leaning towards the driver having intent to kill (witnesses heard acceleration, and have stated the headlights were not on).

    1. Reese says:

      He was driving a Toyota. Maybe the accelerator stuck.

  21. Dave Seavy says:

    Kevin hit it right on the head. It’s the legislature that has set the sentences. Judges have some leeway, but any downward (or upward) departure has to be justified and fully explained on record by the judge. I understand the emtion behind many of these comments, which makes me grateful that the judicial system is run by laws and not emotion. This man hasn’t been convicted of anything at this point. If he’s convicted of this horrible situation, then let’s hope the system provides the maximum sentence. That’s all anybody can do for the moment.

  22. TheLawMan Cometh says:

    To all of you screaming ‘put him away for life’, ‘give him 30 years’ etc. Learn your law, and be disgusted with it. Criminal Vehicular Homicide sentencing in this state is a JOKE. Go ahead, look how lenient it is. If your going to take someone’s life in this state, just get in a car, you’ll do a fraction of the time.

    I sympathize with all victims families like this. Until people realize it’s the same as taking a gun and shooting someone, these offenders will be sentenced ‘lightly’.

    1. megadeth says:

      ok lawman…how about all the lives dumped by corporate and bankster greed through loss of jobs and foreclosures?…just saying there are as bad a crimes commited and noone seems to care

  23. Criminal Defense Atty says:

    You guys are soooo cluless. If they don’t put violent criminals away for 30 years, what makes you think that this guy will get 30 years. He will be in jail until his trial a year from now and get time served plus 10 years of probation. All of you that cry foul when a “taxpayer” gets wacked need to do your research. You don’t do any real time for even the most violent crimes in MN unless there is some sort of political pressure at the time your are sentenced. That usually gets appealed and overturned. I could even get this not to go to trial and probably 5-7 years of probation would be his sentence and still make 35k in legal fees.

    1. captobv. says:

      You sound less like a lawyer than a tree stump, get back to the fry cook there burning.

      1. MAMA J says:

        @captobv. What is your deal? I noticed that you are always on here talking crap to everyone. Calling people names and trying to make it seem like you know everything about everything. All you are doing is making yourself look like an ass. I’m guessing that you are going to come back at me and tell me that i’m stupid,Trailer trash, welfare mama, druggie and whatever else you can think of. without knowing anything about me. Do you just put people down to make yourself feel better? who told you that you are gods gift to earth? You need a reality check. and since you are so smart then i’m guessing that you must me a rocket scientist? But prolly not. why dont you just give it a rest and leave people alone for once. Or do you act this way because you sit at home alone eating TV dinners watching the playboy channel because no woman or man in their right mind would ever want to be with a man like you? You can call me names and talk all the crap you want online but I dare you to come over to my neighborhood and speak your small mind in person. But i’m sure you are just a big mouth cowered. all talk and no action. Yes I see that I was putting you down just like you do to everyone else which would make me no better than you, But the difference is, I’m not a cruel heartless person who seeks out people to put down on purpose. I’m just sick of reading the hurtful things you say. NO REAL MAN ACTS THE WAY YOU DO. YOU ARE JUST A BULLY. So lets hear it! How are you going to TRY to put me down? But if you do, you will only be wasting your time. Because I know who I am and whatever you say will not hurt me.

  24. peanut66 says:

    According to another news source, the car is a Mitzubishi (spelling??), not a Toyota like originally reported. I don’t think accelerator malfunction will fly in this case.

  25. Anodes Brown says:

    So, ya’ll want to put a JUDGE in jail because THREE YEARS ago he was not put in prison for a careless driving and, later, a DWI charge? So you think that someone that gets a careless driving charge and, later, a DWI, should be put in prison for life because they may at some later date drive down the sidewalk and hit some students? Has it occurred to any of you that imprisoning someone for a careless driving and DWI charge would be ILLEGAL? Probably not, since you think a JUDGE considering a CARELESS DRIVING charge should have put him in JAIL, which means that your opinions are poorly considered.

  26. just saying says:


    Bakdash, Timothy Ayman

    – St. Louis-Virginia

    Crim/Traf Non-Mand

    Drugs-Possess/Sale Small Amounts of Marijuana
    Bakdash, Timothy Ayman

    Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown

    Crim/Traf Mandatory

    Traffic – Careless Driving
    Bakdash, Timothy Ayman

    Ramsey Criminal/Traffic/Petty Suburban

    Crim/Traf Mandatory

    Traffic – DWI – Third-Degree Driving While Impaired; 1 Aggravating Factor
    Traffic – DWI – 3rd deg-Operate Motor Vehicle – Alcohol Concentration 0.08 Within 2 Hours
    Traffic-Drivers License-Driving After Revocation

    Bakdash, Timothy Ayman

    Ramsey Criminal/Traffic/Petty Suburban

    Crim/Traf Mandatory
    Under Court Jurisdiction

    Public Nuisance-Interfere/Obstruct/Render Dangerous Public Road/Wat

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