MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A St. Paul man is facing charges for a fatal crash that prosecutors say started when he fled police.
Shawn Konder, 26, is facing one charge of third-degree murder, two charges of criminal vehicular homicide and one charge of making terroristic threats.
According to the criminal complaint, Konder was watching his 2-year-old son and a 15-year-old girl at their St. Paul home Friday evening while their mother was at work. The young girl said that Konder left the home several times and came back smelling of alcohol and acting drunk.
Later that night, Konder and the girl got into an argument and began fighting. Just then, the children’s mother came home and broke up the fight with the help of her friend. Konder left the residence and came back later to threaten the mother with an 18-inch machete, prompting a 911 call.
When Konder sped off, police spotted his white construction van on the road and began a pursuit. Eventually, he led officers on a high-speed chase down an alley between University Avenue and Sherburne Avenue at Chatsworth Street. Officers estimated his speed at about 80 mph.
Konder eventually sped out of the alley at Victoria Street where he smashed into another car, shoving both vehicles into a garage on Sherburne Avenue. There, he jumped out of the car and tried to run away, but fell to the ground and was arrested.
The garage collapsed on top of the other car, seriously injuring the driver — 41-year-old Lashay Whittaker. He was rushed to the hospital but later died.
Dedrick Young said it is hard to find words to describe the loss of his friend, LaShay Whittaker.
“I’m still coping with it still dealing with it,” Young said.
Young and Whittaker had worked two chairs down from each other at a barbershop for more than 15 years.
While being transported to the hospital, prosecutors say Konder laughed and referred to the incident as “a cat and mouse game that he had lost.”
In an interview with police, prosecutors say Konder later admitted to drinking that night, but only remembered crashing. He reportedly told the officer he was sorry for the victim and his family, and “deserved whatever he got for ruining their lives.”
“I think [Konder] understands what he did and how it could have been preventable,” Young said.
He said what Konder told investigators after the crash is no surprise, but he said a confession will not bring his friend back.
“I’m just real concerned about Shays family. They took one of my brothers away,” Young said.
The barbers at The Grooming House on Selby Avenue are in mourning, along with Whittaker’s family and close friends. They all wonder how the children he leaves behind will handle it all.
“Two young beautiful girls. I know they are going to miss their daddy,” Young said.
Konder’s next court appearance is set for May 8. If convicted on all counts, he could face decades in prison.