Charges: Drunk driver in crash that killed passenger was heading back from funeral

Criminal charges allege a man had been drinking at a funeral last winter before getting in a crash in Maplewood that killed one of the passengers in his car.

A complaint states officers responded to a crash just before midnight on Dec. 10 on Highway 61 near County Road B. A Toyota Corolla with whiskey plates headed north had jumped the curb and crossed the median into the southbound lanes, hitting a Ford F-150.

Two good Samaritans were giving CPR to a passenger in the backseat of the Corolla. He didn’t have a pulse when they pulled him from the car, the complaint states, and medics would later pronounce the victim — 52-year-old Tou Moua of Fresno, California — dead at the scene.

The driver of the Corolla, 58-year-old Chue Ashan Yang of Maplewood, was unconscious in the front seat, and the front-seat passenger, Sammie Moua — Tou Moua’s sister — was put in an ambulance with apparent head trauma.

Sammie Moua told officers she and the other occupants of the Corolla had all been drinking at a funeral prior to the crash. She and her brother were not wearing seatbelts.

The driver of the F-150 told officers the Corolla was driving erratically and didn’t have its lights on. He estimated the sedan was traveling 60-70 mph when it jumped the raised median and flew into his truck.

Yang and Sammie Moua were both taken to Regions Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and the driver of the F-150 was unharmed, according to a Minnesota State Patrol crash report.

While at the hospital, a state trooper noticed Yang smelled of alcohol. A blood sample obtained via search warrant two hours after the crash indicated Yang had a blood-alcohol content of 0.146.

According to charges filed on Thursday, Yang faces two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with Tou Moua’s death. He was charged via warrant and was not in custody as of Thursday evening.

Yang has three prior DWI convictions dating back to 2008.