Man charged after hit-and-run crash; victim seriously injured, leg amputated

A Brooklyn Park man was charged Thursday after a hit-and-run crash over the weekend that critically injured a pedestrian, court records show.

Phonsavanh Vongphouthone, 35, is charged with felony criminal vehicular operation with greater bodily harm in regard to a crash in Crystal Saturday evening.

According to a criminal complaint, police responded to Crystal Airport Road and County Road 81 on a report of a man hit by a vehicle and lying in the street. Officers spoke with a bystander who did not see the collision but stopped to call 911 and render aid to the victim.

At the scene, police found a dozen cans of beer, pieces of a white Ford Focus and some of the victim’s belongings, the complaint says. Police followed footprints in fresh snow backward to a nearby liquor store and, through surveillance video, saw that the victim had left the store at 6:15 p.m. after buying a 12-pack of beer.

Saturday night, the Crystal Police Department posted on social media asking for the public’s help in locating the car involved.

At 8:10 a.m. the next morning, Vongphouthone called police to report that his white Ford Focus was stolen the night before and that he’d been with family at the time of the crash. Police found the car in a park within a mile from his home, the complaint states, and front-end damage on the vehicle appeared to match with the pedestrian crash. The ignition and steering column weren’t tampered with or damaged.

After speaking with Vongphouthone and his family and viewing surveillance video, police came to the conclusion that Vongphouthone had gone to the liquor store and purchased a 12-pack of beer then drove away in the direction of where the victim was found at the time he’d told police he was home, the complaint says. 911 calls came in reporting the victim lying in the road six minutes after he left the store.

In an interview with Crystal police after being arrested, Vongphouthone said he’d not been drunk and that he’d taken "only one hit of weed" before getting behind the wheel, the complaint states. He also said the victim "jumped" in front of his car and that he didn’t stop or report the collision out of fear.

Vongphouthone told officers he came home after the crash and "drank it off," and that he moved his car around 11 p.m. that evening with the plan of reporting it stolen the next day, according to the complaint.

The victim has had multiple surgeries since the crash, including one where his leg was amputated, in order to save his life, the complaint says. He remains in the hospital as of Thursday.

The 48-year-old victim’s next of kin told police that "the only non-broken bone in [the victim’s] body was his left arm," and that he had an infection which contributed to him being in critical condition, according to a search warrant.

Vongphouthone He was booked into Hennepin County Jail Wednesday, and his bail is set at $75,000. His first appearance in court is set for Monday afternoon.