Police: Minnesota hit-and-run started as fight

Published 10:00 pm Monday, September 11, 2017

MANKATO — A fight over drugs ended with a man deliberately driving into a group of people in the southern Minnesota city of Mankato, injuring six, police said Monday.

Cmdr. Dan Schisel said charges are expected today against Juan Carlos Lamas Jr., 21, of Shakopee, who’s accused of driving a Cadillac CTS sedan into the group early Sunday.

The charges are likely to include driving while intoxicated, fleeing police and criminal vehicular operation, he said.

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Investigators were still trying Monday to nail down the details of what happened, but a fight over drugs in an apartment where several people had gathered preceded the attack in a nearby parking lot, the commander said.

He wasn’t sure what drugs were involved. The dispute spilled outside, and one person told police he had been struck in the back by a BB or pellet, he said.

A Mankato police officer who happened to be driving by saw the commotion, radioed for assistance and stopped to help the injured people.

Lamas’ car also struck two parked cars when it hit the victims, Schisel said. A tire and rim fell off his car as he fled, and he was later stopped by a Blue Earth County deputy who saw sparks coming from the car. Lamas was “less than cooperative” but other deputies soon arrived and helped arrest him, the commander said.

Two 18-year-old victims with injuries that Schisel described as “severe” were flown to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. They were listed in fair condition Monday, hospital spokeswoman Emily DeBoom said. Two less seriously injured people were taken to a Mankato hospital. Schisel said none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

The commander said he didn’t know if Lamas has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.