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Driver charged in fatal hit-and-run in St. Paul was unlicensed, has long criminal history

23December 2021

A 65-year-old driver with a long history of committing crimes and driving without a license struck a woman as she was walking in St. Paul and left her there to die, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.

Michael J. Friend of St. Paul was charged in Ramsey County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the death of My Ger Vang, 34, of St. Paul, after dark Monday.

Friend remains jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail ahead of a Jan. 11 court appearance. Court records do not list an attorney for him.

Under his current name and an alias, Friend has been convicted of at least two dozen crimes dating back more than 30 years. He’s currently on probation after being sentenced in July 2020 for assault with a dangerous weapon.

His criminal history also includes three convictions for driving after his license was suspended or revoked and another for drunken driving.

At the time of this week’s crash, Friend also had no license, the state Department of Public Safety said, explaining that it was revoked more than four years ago.

According to the complaint:

Police responding to the crash near E. 3rd Street and S. White Bear Avenue saw Vang on the pavement and unconscious. Police said she had significant head injuries. Emergency responders took her to Regions Hospital, where she died.

Friend turned himself in to police the next day, but the minivan was missing.

After he was advised of his right to remain silent, Friend asked for an attorney but went on to say, “I’m the person who hit that lady. … I take full responsibility as far as what happened,” the complaint quoted him as saying.

A woman who was with Friend when he surrendered said he took her minivan without her permission. Friend eventually told her he hit someone and had left the scene.

“He said that he saw the person still moving around in the road after he struck her,” the complaint read.

The vehicle was located shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday in a parking lot at Mounds Boulevard and Earl Street. It had damage to its windshield and hood.

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