MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nineteen-year-old Cecilia Speranzella and her 14-year-old brother Jacob, were walking to get ice cream. They were just two blocks from their home and had just stepped out to cross at 17th Avenue South and Lake Street.
That’s when a horrific scene played out.
Nearby store surveillance cameras caught the terrifying moment as both were struck and thrown into a corner bakery by an erratic and speeding driver.
“I just thought of like, ‘Oh no, a hit and run,'” Candy Gama said.
Gama was tending her store, Pasteleria Gama, directly across the street from the crash when she heard the commotion. As she ran outside Gama saw the driver speed east on Lake after crashing into a police squad. When she looked at the wreckage of glass and debris she saw the young woman lying motionless on the sidewalk.
“A girl was laying on the corner, a lot of glass, windows broken, it was bad,” said Gam. “She didn’t look like she was moving, she looked really, really still.”
On Tuesday Minneapolis police identified the driver as 48-year-old Steven Djuan Ross. Investigators say he took a stolen car on a reckless ride, striking parked cars and slamming into the siblings.
His violent ride ended when Ross crashed into a light pole two blocks east along Lake Street and burst into flames. Ross resisted officers as they pulled him from the burning wreckage.
Ross has a long criminal history having been convicted of several assaults, drug possession, disorderly conduct and driving without a license.
At the time of yesterday’s violent spree, Ross was serving probation until next February for a disorderly conduct conviction.
Meantime, in social media posts, the victim’s father Joe Speranzella said that Cecilia suffered a traumatic brain injury. His son Jacob has cuts, fractured ankles and broken vertebrae.
The family is asking the public and media for privacy and prayers.