MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota State Patrol is looking for a driver who hit and killed a man filling his gas tank on the side of Interstate 94 Tuesday night.

Officers said the person who hit the man just kept on driving.

It happened around 11 p.m. on the I-94 westbound off-ramp to Riverside Avenue in Minneapolis.

The State Patrol said 38-year-old Anousone Phanthavong of Roseville was filling his car with gas on the off-ramp when he was hit by a vehicle.

Phanthavong, known as “Phet” to his friends and co-workers, died from his injuries. He was a head chef at True Thai Restaurant in Minneapolis, where he had worked for eight years. His boss, Chuck Whitney, said Phet was a nice person and an incredible worker.

Whitney said Phet was driving to the restaurant Tuesday night to pick up gas money that he had left for him under a rock behind the restaurant.

“We left it there for him. The $20 was still there in the morning. Evidently he got as far as the Riverside exit and ran out of gas. He ran to the gas station to get a little more to make it here, but he didn’t make it,” Whitney said.

He said Phet was an excellent chef who recently cooked for the rock band U2 as part of their catering service.

“Boy we are going to miss him because he was a big part of this restaurant and a big part of everybody here. I have one employee who works one day a week. When he found out that Phet had passed away he broke down like you wouldn’t believe. That’s how much he was liked,” Whitney said.

Police said based on evidence at the scene, including a broken fog lamp that was found nearby, preliminary findings suggest that the suspect vehicle was a 2007-2011 Mercedes ML 320, ML 350, ML 500, or ML 63. They do know that it will have serious front-end damage.

“The likelihood of catching (the suspect) goes up with that evidence and those witnesses, should they come forward,” said Minnesota State Patrol’s Lt. Eric Roeske.

Roeske said the tragedy also illustrates the danger of being on a freeway or ramp when a car breaks down or runs out of gas.

He said motorists should always try to get off the freeway if they encounter trouble and always try to keep plenty of gas in the tank.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Steve Murphy Reports

Comments (79)
  1. red says:

    how can one function with a guilty conscience. turn yourself in

    1. Botanist says:

      Some of my closest friends are Somalian people..My wife & I are hoping to adopt 4 Somalian children. I’m simply disgusted by the juvenile remarks posted against a hard working,admirable culture of good citizens like our Somalian community. Try extending some Minnesota hospitality to em’.

      1. Sue says:

        What are you talking about? The guy who was killed was not Somalian he’s Asian.

      2. Alan says:

        I have no idea where this life story came from… Did you accidentally post on the wrong page?

  2. been close says:

    Or the drunk Somali man who rear-ended my car while I was driving a few years ago. Yeah, the state took his car for good and his license for a year after I chased him and caught him passed out with the ignition running, but I still ended up paying the $3000.00 to repair my car. At least he didn’t kill me, but I bet he’s driving again. Great laws…

    1. Gary Ryan says:

      Why is it relevant that the driver who rear-ended you was Somali?

      1. konjokris says:

        Because that’s who hit the car and cost the person $3000.

  3. PEACE says:


    1. Mike says:

      The same feeling we have for you when you show up with your bigotry.

      1. sad but true says:

        Go away Mike, you have nothing constructive to say, other than how you disagree with others post, idiot!

        1. Jim says:

          It’s always good to speak up against ignorant bigots like “agreed” and “sad but true.” Thanks, Mike.

          1. sad but true says:

            @ Jim Bob,

            Goodnite Johnboy!

  4. Momma of 2 says:

    How horrible! If you hit someone, man up!!! Either way your judgement day will come … God will serve justice in the end.

    My prayers are with the victims family and friends. So sorry for your loss.

    1. Dave's Not Here says:

      Wait. What is it you think will happen to the guy who did this after he dies?? I don’t understand why people make such a statement. Dead is dead. There is no further punishment when you’re in the ground…

    2. shorty says:

      thanks you that’s my uncle and it suck

  5. Kelsey Geyer says:

    Really? This poor man gets killed by a bad driver and all everyone can say is it must be a Somali? Unbelievable. I know it may be hard to believe, but there are a lot of white people who are bad drivers, too! Just yesterday I saw a young woman who was white merge into a lane on 494 without looking and she nearly ran someone else off the road. Had no idea what she did. Shame on all of you!

    My heart goes out to the family of the man killed.

    1. Mohamed Ali Mohamud says:

      Nobody said he was Somali. A guy just told an irrelevant story about a Somali driver.

      Besides, it was probably a drunk Irishman. Stupid Irish. Everyone knows they smell funny, like Lucky Charms and potatoes and stuff.

      1. konjokris says:

        I like potatoes and Lucky Charms and love Irish Spring soap, “It’s manly but I like it too.”

      2. Kelsey Geyer says:

        You obviously came here after they removed all of the flagged comments. There were 6 or 7 separate people saying the driver must have been Somali.

    2. shorty says:

      thank you so much that mean so much to us. r.i.p uncle

  6. Dre says:

    GEEZ It Was A MERCEDES That Hit & Killed The Young Mom Crossing Hwy 36 With Her Kid, A Few Weeks Ago In North Saint Paul!
    Seems To Me Theyre Just Rich Punks Driving Like They Own The Road!!

    1. geturfactsstr8t says:

      that lady ran across the highway at a no walk….don’t think that was the drivers fault

    2. Todd says:

      As get your facts straight said, the lady crossed the highway in the dark, against the light with a stroller no less. It’s not the drivers fault. Your doing 55 all of a sudden there is a woman with a stroller in front of you. I don’t think anyone could do anything. And he was sober on top of it. If anything I feel sorry for the guy who hit her. How horrible would that be?

    3. konjokris says:

      Don’t judge a dirver’s wallet by their car, my ex has a Benz and is broke.

  7. Dre says:

    Oh & most Somalians Dont drive a Mercedes, My moneys on a White Doctor around 40-50 yrs old!

    1. sad but true says:

      I have to agree with you on this one, but not a Dr. The rest of your profile fits, stay tuned and we will see. Either way, it’s pretty damn sad!

    2. just addin in says:

      I’ve seen somalis driving new nissan muranos… how do they afford those?
      They are 35k, so yes, they could afford a c class mercedes.

      1. Berta says:

        Somalis can’t have money? Bunch of racists! I know many Somalis who work WELL and hard and, yes, just like in many countries, there are many with high education, including doctors, etc. What’s more, there are many white people who drive very poorly and aggressively.
        My sympathies to the victim and his family.

    3. Just Great! says:

      Max does not even know what a bigot is, yet he’s allowed a computer.


  8. jan says:

    What does the race of the driver have to do with this? I agree that the driver is a jackash though. I hope he or she gets the maximum punishment allowed by the law

    1. ez says:

      yeah, it will probably be probation. That’s what our laws do for victims.

  9. Diane Calkin says:

    I am a pedestrian, every day I must look out for drivers who make turns and also stop quickly over the crosswalks. These too numerous to mention drivers seem to think they have the right of way at all time even when it is a green walk sign for pedestrians. Usually they don’t even look or are too busy talking on their cell phones and speeding. If I didn’t watch out I would be hit by them.

    1. Berta says:

      You think that being a pedestrian means you want a car but can’t afford it???? Very funny. Maybe Diane wants to stay healthy and walk and keep the planet clean and not congest roads. And maybe that’s too much for someone like you who seems to be defending aggressive drivers, because no one should be a pedestrian? Sad.

      1. @Betha says:

        Looks like you could could use a good long walk..and maybe start eating some salads.

        1. Berta says:

          You may be right. I rarely walk–I bike and run. What’s a salad?

    2. Dave's Not Here says:

      Pretty sure walk signs are white for pedestrians, and green for motorists.

  10. jeff says:

    So the guy who ran out of gas isn’t to blame for putting himself in danger?? Apparently he couldn’t fill up while it was safe, but happend to have a gas can to fill up along the side of the road. DUH.

    And I’m not excusing the hit and run person either. just saying he put himself in harms way for NO reason.

    What if the person had stopped, how do you think the victim would have made that person suffer for the rest of their life as well

    1. Berta says:

      I thought the same at first. But then, as I was reading the article, I thought about it and realized he had not planned to run out of gas. He just did. Then he walked over to get gas, I assume, and had to return to where his car had stalled. Yes, he could have had a full tank, but even though it’s never happened to me, I know running out of gas in the middle of the road happens often to many people–and I will not spit up and assume it will never happen to me. This will just be a reminder…

  11. Gud Reder says:

    Just addin in: read the story, this was NOT a “C” class Mercedes, it was a much higher end vehicle.

    1. addin says:

      Yeah that information wasn’t put up yet.

      Either way, an ML isn’t that expensive either if bought 3 years old!

  12. knotnow says:

    They should just turn themselves in. The law is very lenient on people who flee after hitting a pedestrian. Some one I know was killed by a hit and run driver who then enlisted the help of his 16 yr son to wash the blood off the vehicle. He also had his girlfriend to go back and move the body in the ditch to conceal it. When he finally turned himself in and went to court his sentence was 6 months house arrest. Woopee. The law feels more sorry for the driver than they do the victum and their family.

    1. red says:

      that is digusting

      1. red says:

        if i could only spell, sorry i mean disgusting

  13. shorty says:

    whoever did this will be so sorry cant believe u just killed my uncle!

    1. Average Minnesota Family says:

      Sorry about your loss and your family’s loss, Shorty. That is very tragic and our thoughts are with you all and our prayers are to your uncle.

    2. sad but true says:

      That’s a terrible thing to say. You can think it, but to actually post it so the victims family and friends can read it….wow, terrible

    3. Ann says:

      Don’t you have funeral arrangements to make? Buff up those black wingtips!

  14. Berta says:

    LOOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You’re the kind of person who would hit someone and leave them behind. Turn yourself in instead of diverting attention based on your racism.

    1. Che G says:

      Berta, why are you attacking Latino people like that?

  15. Berta says:

    Hey, while you’re at it, why don’t you go find someone to teach you English? Including grammar, that is. And then, your racist rant might make a little more sense.

    1. G Steinem says:

      Berta, he wasn’t being racist. he was protesting the rampant misogyny that permits males of Somali descent to wear whatever they want, but women are forced to wear unattractive, impractical clothing. Why do you support oppression of Somali women?

      1. Berta says:

        Is he, really? From his other comments, I doubt that. I do not support oppression of anyone. I interact with Somali women on a regular basis and I have yet to meet one of them who tells me it is not completely up to them whether to wear a headpiece or not. Their religion just expects them to dress wit modesty. I do not consider that oppression. And I honestly find it a lot more acceptable than the current “white” fashion with butts hanging out of jean shorts that are a few sizes too small. It goes from revolting when it’s a big girl in her 30s or 40s, to flat out inappropriate when it’s a 13 or 14-year-old. And in that tangent, I could ask you why do you support the objectivization and sexualization of women.

        1. G Steinem says:

          Riiiiight. Totally voluntary by the scared-silly women. Never mind the “honor killings” of women who dare to voluntarily dress in a different fashion.

          Berta, while you have a right to hate all white people (with bad fashion that attribute solely to whites), but at some point you can’t be the apologist for all non-white causes. When a Muslim culture starts slaughtering non-white Christians, who will you cheer for?

          Is the only alternative to head-to-toe dress for Somali women that they have to wear revealing clothes? How about a nice blouse and pair of jeans? Then again, perhaps the thought of Somali men in flip flops is your idea of sexual enticement. Keep both hands on the keyboard, Berta!

          1. Berta says:

            “How about a nice blouse and pair of jeans?” Guess what? They do wear blouses and jeans! Open your e-y-e-s.

            “When a Muslim culture starts slaughtering non-white Christians, who will you cheer for?” Turn Fox off for a little bit and you may be able to learn about Islam. Unless you like being afraid. Oh, and speaking of “slaughtering,” did you hear a man was slaughtered yesterday night on I-94? Yes, I know, this time it was in real life not in that imaginary world where everyone is coming after us. Unless you are convinced that they have already started… tuiruiruiruriruriruri

            1. Berta says:

              Sorry. I get it now. You are defining “Somali” as any Muslim woman covering her head. If they don’t, they must just be black people, right?

              Did you know that Christians are polygamists? Yes! But only the men can do it, not the women. Geez. It’s just the Mormons? And then only some of them, who are considered a little bit more extreme? Come on… those are just details. Potatoe, potato, Jihadists, Muslims, Somalis…

            2. Cold Truth says:

              Wow. Berta, I am sure you are a sweet person, but turning off the Discovery channel does not mean the cheetah didn’t kill the baby gazelle. It just means you didn’t see it.

              The point is that you are a multi-culturalist beyond a fault. If your criticism is reserved for white people, especially males, whatever guilt complex (or savior complex) driving you will (if shared by enough people) yield a very unhappy result.

              If we cannot trust ourselves to have moral standing as a people, regardless of our history – revised or otherwise – we leave ourselves in the hands of others who have no greater claim to morality. To wit, the culture we have that permits the morons to spew racial bias here is also the one that permits you to participate freely and equally with all races and both genders. Sadly, if those whose culture you vigorously defend were in charge, there’d be no postings from Berta here.

        2. sorry says:

          “white fashion” with butts hanging out?

          Are you just mad because you are probably 100lb over weight and can’t look good in a tight dress?

          Sure has heck I wouldn’t let my kids dress that way. That’s the parents.

          1. @Biiig Berta says:

            sure dude..whatever

      2. Berta says:

        You know why else it’s racism? Because this article has nothing to do with Somalis, yet, everyone just decided to start attacking their culture.

  16. Big D says:

    It wasnt his mom…she was with me at the time….

  17. Deep Thinker says:

    So here is what happened, a drunk killed a person putting gas in his stalled car. Knowing that he would be in big trouble for being intoxicated & killing someone, the Mercedes owner drove off & since then has contacted an attorney, who will eventually contact the police & who will then tell the police that he has a client that didn’t know he hit a person so he drove away. Of course now he can’t be charged for manslaughter because they can’t prove he was drunk & the courts will slap his wrists & the person driving the Mercedes won’t lose any sleep because if he had a conscience he would have stopped to begin with….just my theory…..it’s happened exactly like this numerous times over the years..

    1. Jake says:

      DT you’re back! Your theory is spot on! I give it 3 to 2 odds that’s exactly what will happen.

    2. exactly says:

      Thank you! I was hoping someone would say it so I didn’t have to. Unfortunately, that would be the wisest thing to do from a legal standpoint. Whoever did it will be charged with failure to stop for accident with injury or death and that’s about it. Very sad story!

    3. knotnow says:

      That’s pretty much exactly what happened to the person I spoke of earlier. He was charged with 4 felonies – leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, tampering with physical evidence, second degree conspiracy, and failure to report a collision. In the end he went to court, got a plea deal where they dropped two of the charges and basically slapped hi wrists. And by the way he had no insurance and was not even charged for that. So the family has no recourse to bring a civil suite. Hopefully this guy is rich and the family can sue the SOB.

  18. EasyDay says:

    I’m going to get a bag of random car parts, then if im ever drunk and hit some1, I will just dump them out on the street and they wont be looking for the vechicle they came from, system beaten again.

    1. D McNabb says:

      Also, leave a couple of Boys’ Life magazines and a jar of Vaseline, and they’ll assume it was a Packers’ fan, too.

      1. Diane says:

        Thank you for your intelligent comments Berta, I could have defended myself but I refused to join in the ignorant and biased comments from others who are over looking the fact that the victim is dead and why it happened, not about racism or sexism.

        1. Yoda says:

          Entirely in the eyes of the beholder ignorance and bias is.

        2. Diane says:

          My husband is Black,as are my in-laws. I am a white-guilt apologist,a bit naive,extremely Liberal & despise most fellow white people.

          1. sad but true says:

            ……So your a mudshark. A mudshark with good core values.

          2. Billy Bob Has A Gun says:

            She got jungle fever! And most white people dont like you and your family….so we are even….

  19. Mike says:

    Cheech Marin is also responsible for pushing people to the brink and wonders half baked why in response they do the things they do. Brilliant moron.

    1. @Mike says:

      If you’re weak enough to be “pushed” into doing something, there is no hope for you..Try being responsible for your own actions..You’re a follower it sounds like.

  20. Bob says:

    This is so sad. My condolences to his loved ones.

  21. THE BURNER says:

    This coward should be burned alive on I-94 at rush hour!!!!!

  22. O says:

    What does race have anything to do with this tragic event what a bunch of morons!

  23. Innocent says:

    Years ago perfectly sober I hit someone on a bike. I had no idea I hit someone. Honestly I thought it was a rock or a small animal. Kept driving didn’t think anything of it. Next morning my husband sees the car and asks what I hit. Told him I thought maybe it was a rock or a racoon or something. See hit run on the new, realize I was in the area at the time and yes I hit something. Of coarse we called an attorney and he called the police. I feel for the driver, I’ve been there done that. Until it happens to you don’t judge.

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