Man charged in connection to Minneapolis crash that injured 2 teenagers

Updated: October 02, 2019 07:30 PM

A St. Paul man has been charged in connection to a crash that injured two teenagers in Minneapolis Monday afternoon, according to a release from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office. 

The attorney's office said Steven Ross, 48, faces two counts of criminal vehicular operation and one count of simple robbery.

According to a criminal complaint, officers were called at about 2:15 p.m. to the area of 26th Street South and 17th Avenue South on the report of a vehicle robbery. The man whose vehicle was stolen said he was sitting in his SUV when a man— later identified as Ross— smashed the vehicle's driver's side window with his head. Ross then climbed into the vehicle and drove off, smashing into multiple cars.

On Tuesday, cellphone video of the carjacking was shared with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. 

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The complaint said Ross continued to drive south on 17th Avenue South at a high rate of speed. When he reached Lake Street, he attempted to make a right turn, however, he went through the intersection, hitting two teenagers who were in the crosswalk.

The two teens were identified by their father as Cecilia Speranzella and Jacob Speranzella. 

According to the complaint, Cecilia was thrown 10 to 15 feet in the air before hitting the window frame of a bakery on the corner of the street. Jacob was also launched into the air before crashing through the glass window of the bakery. 

After colliding with the two teens, Ross continued to drive eastbound on Lake Street, where he struck the front end of a police car. After the collision, a short pursuit occurred until Ross crashed into a light pole near the intersection of Lake Street and 20th Avenue South. After striking the pole, the SUV he had stolen caught fire.

The complaint said even though the SUV couldn't move, Ross continued to press on the vehicle's accelerator. 

John Elder, with the Minneapolis Police Department, said officers had to pull Ross from the vehicle. 

"He had no intention of stopping," Elder said. 

During an interview with police, Ross said he had consumed crack, marijuana and alcohol that day, according to the complaint. Ross told police he remembers driving away from the area where he stole the SUV and trying to avoid hitting the two teens. 

Joseph Speranzella, the teens' father, wrote hours after the crash in a social media post that Cecilia "has a traumatic brain injury and is not responding." He added that Jacob was recovering from "fractures to his ankle and two vertebrae."

The father said that his daughter and son "wanted to treat themselves with ice cream from the bakery. So they took a walk and were at the wrong place at the wrong time."

If found guilty, Ross could face up to 18 years in prison. He is expected to make his first appearance in court Thursday.

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