Witnesses Said Male Driver Ran From Crash That Killed PassengerBy Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis police say a 21-year-old man has been arrested in connection to a fatal crash in north Minneapolis Sunday morning.

The fatal crash happened shortly before 4 a.m. Sept. 17 at the intersection of Stinson Boulevard Northeast and Ridgeway Parkway. Responding officers found a car had slammed into a stoplight and a woman was trapped in the vehicle’s passenger side.

Officers were able to free her from the wreckage, but she died at the scene. On Monday, police identified the victim as 20-year-old Ria Bharat Patel — a junior at the University of St. Thomas.

Witnesses reported that a male driver ran away from the crash before police arrived. Attempts to locate the suspect were unsuccessful.

On Tuesday, police said the suspected driver, Michael Laurence Campbell, was arrested and booked into the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center on probable case criminal vehicular homicide.

At the site of the crash friends have left tributes to the vibrant young woman who was studying business at college.

Her cousin Nishul describes her this way. He said, “[She was] enthusiastic, intelligent, life of the party,” Ria Patel’s cousin Nishul Patel said.

Nishul says the family is grateful Michael Campbell was caught.

“Now that he is found, it’s good. It’s a relief for us,” he said.

Nishul Patel and two family friends say they saw Ria and Michael Campbell together at a party Saturday night. They say while Campbell was drinking, he did not appear intoxicated when the two left at about 12:30 a.m. The crash happened about three hours later.

Minneapolis Police say Campbell’s booking photo is being held for investigative purposes.

Campbell has a record of misdemeanor driving violations, including a hit and run late last year and a conviction for underage alcohol consumption. Records show Campbell lost his driver’s license last year, but his driving privileges were reinstated four months ago.

Nishul Patel and his friends say while Ria and Campbell were friends, it was not clear if they were actually dating — and that many of Ria’s friends didn’t like Campbell.

“I, from the beginning, was not particularly a fan of his, and that was pretty consistent throughout all of her friends,” Ria Patel’s cousin Parth Patel said.

Nishul Patel says police told the family that before they took Campbell to jail, they took him to a hospital to be checked out for injuries he sustained in the crash. He’s being held on probable cause vehicular homicide.

Patel’s family is in the process of making funeral arrangements.


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