Little Canada Man Charged for Crashing into St. Paul Bar

Updated: 05/03/2014 8:28 AM
Created: 05/02/2014 3:33 PM
By: Cassie Hart

A 31-year-old Little Canada man has been charged after crashing into a St. Paul bar and injuring five people inside Friday morning.

Matthew Damman is charged with with five counts of criminal vehicular operation and one count of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

According to the criminal complaint, troopers with the Minnesota State Patrol received a call of a minivan driving erratically on Interstate 94 late Thursday night. The driver was seen almost hitting a wall near Highway 61.

An official with the Minnesota State Patrol on the scene told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the vehicle was being pursued by police when the driver lost control and crashed into The Bulldog on Sixth and Wacouta streets.

"The pursuit was very short in length – probably less than two blocks," Chris Erickson with the State Patrol said. "As far as the speeds go, that’s still under investigation."

Five people inside the bar were hurt, and three were taken to the hospital by ambulance, according to the criminal complaint.

"Before we even knew it, there was a minivan screaming down Sixth Street heading west, and it swerved and smashed into The Bulldog," witness Heather McDougall said. "All I heard was a loud crash; it sounded like a bomb. I saw out of the corner of my eye glass shattering, and I just dove on the floor."

A trooper found Damman unresponsive and slumped toward the passenger seat, according to the criminal complaint. Damman slowly woke up and was removed from the minivan with help.

The complaint states he smelled of alcohol and appeared very groggy and lethargic, he also could not walk without assistance.

When asked why he fled, Damman said, "My sugar is f***ed up," the complaint states. He said this was the third time in six months his "sugar was messed up." Paramedics determined his blood sugar was well below normal.

Damman's eyes were watery and his speech was slurred, according to court documents. Damman said he had one beer at a burger place in Hastings, according to the complaint. A breath test showed his blood alcohol concentration was 0.022, which is under the legal limit, and Damman also admitted to smoking marijuana five hours before, the complaint states.

He was taken to Regions Hospital, where officers took a blood sample.

Damman was advised of his rights and agreed to speak to officers. He recalled seeing emergency lights and then speeding up and hitting something, according to the complaint. Damman sad he was aware his blood sugar was low and he needed to eat, and he wasn't sure why he didn't stop for the trooper, according to the complaint.

Damman has two prior DWI convictions in Ramsey County, according to the complaint.

The complaint shows a glass pipe and a small amount of marijuana were found in Damman's minivan.

Matthew Damman, 31, or Little Canada is charged after crashing into The Bulldog in St. Paul.
Photo: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office
Photo: KSTP/ Kevin Bubach

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