Army recruiter dragged nearly a mile by hit-and-run driver
By SARAH HORNER | The (St. Paul, Minn.) Pioneer Press | Published: September 18, 2013
A hit-and-run driver struck two Army recruiters in Minnesota on Tuesday, dragging one beneath the vehicle and leaving a trail of blood almost a mile long, police said.
The victim, a 42-year-old Circle Pines man, survived the ordeal near Rosedale Center mall and was hospitalized with serious injuries.
Roseville police later arrested Enrico Darius Taylor, 52, of St. Paul on suspicion of criminal vehicular operation.
Witnesses said the recruiters were struck about 1:40 p.m. in a crosswalk in the 1600 block of West County Road B2 by a 1994 Jeep Wagoneer traveling about 10 mph.
The victims, whose names were not released, were returning from lunch to their offices in the Crossroads of Roseville mall at the time.
One of them -- a 29-year-old man from Brooklyn Center, Minn., -- was thrown over the top of the Jeep but was not seriously injured.
The second, however, became trapped beneath the vehicle. He was dragged about three-quarters of a mile before he could free himself near County Road B2 and Prior Avenue, police Lt. Lorne Rosand said.
At one point, the driver got out and looked under the Jeep before climbing back in the vehicle and continuing to flee, Rosand said.
"The recruiter even asked him for help, but he just sped away," Rosand said.
Later Tuesday night, police said Taylor had given a conflicting account. He acknowledged hitting two pedestrians but told detectives that he panicked, heard screaming coming from beneath his vehicle, stopped and attempted to free the trapped man.
The recruiter was taken by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, where he underwent surgery for two broken bones in his right leg and extensive abrasions to his buttocks, Rosand said.
"We expect him to recover, but it will take months," Rosand said.
Rosand said Minnesota State Patrol investigators couldn't recall anyone having ever been dragged so far in such an incident.
Rosand said Taylor drove to a Motel 6 at Prior Avenue and Minnesota 36, where he asked an employee to call him a cab. He reportedly fled on foot when he saw a squad car drive by. He was arrested about 2 p.m. next door at the Wally McCarthy Cadillac dealership.
Taylor was carrying a large amount of cash, and Rosand said investigators suspect he had been panhandling in the parking lot of Crossroads of Roseville. Police asked that anyone who encountered Taylor to call them at 651-792-7008.
Taylor has an extensive criminal record and has been on the Roseville Police Department's "radar" for years for suspected involvement in various theft and fraud incidents throughout the city, Rosand said.
Police believe he fled because he is not legally allowed to drive, Rosand said, adding he wasn't certain whether Tayor's license was suspended or revoked.
He was arrested on suspicion of criminal vehicular injury. Police said they would present the case to the Ramsey County attorney's office on Wednesday. If charged and convicted, Taylor could face a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, a fine of $10,000 or both.
According to state records, Taylor has a dozen convictions since 1997, including fifth-degree assault, theft, forgery and fleeing police in a motor vehicle. He has been incarcerated in state prisons three times.
Police didn't name either of the Army recruiters, though KSTP-TV identified the seriously injured one as Travis Torgerson. Army representatives could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.