A St. Paul man is facing two felony charges of criminal vehicular operation in the hit-and-run motorcycle crash that critically injured a 4-year-old boy while he was on his way to his birthday party.
St. Paul police were responded to 394 Lafond Avenue in St. Paul on Saturday after receiving a "hysterical" 911 call reporting that a motorcycle had struck a 4-year-old child.
Responding officers found a woman crying and holding the victim, Tyrell Baymon. Officers said they could see road rash on the boy's arms, legs and face, and he was gurgling and gasping.
Several witnesses saw the crash and told officers that a man was recklessly driving on a "blue crotch rocket." Neighbors said they shouted for him to slow down, but minutes later he was popping wheelies as he sped east.
Baymon's mother told police she was walking her son to her truck while holding his hand, and she was getting ready to put the boy inside the vehicle when she heard the motorcycle engine behind her.
Witnesses said the boy flew through the air and landed under another vehicle in front of his mother. The force of the collision sent the boy's shoes flying through the air, and they were recovered at the scene.
According to witnesses, the driver -- identified by police as Ernest Jonas, 25, of St. Paul -- looked behind him after hitting the boy, but made no effort to stop.
Investigators learned that a friend of Jonas lived in the area, and they were able to reach him by telephone and arrange for him to turn himself in.
The motel's owner, Andy Kalim, says even though he doesn't often like having police come to his business, he was happy to help.
"I certainly know this is the guy," he said. "I remember seeing him."
Two women were with Jonas in a Shakopee hotel room when police found him, and they say he was preparing to surrender to authorities. One spoke to FOX 9 News by phone, and said Jonas felt bad about what had happened and wanted to do the right thing.
"From my understanding, his girlfriend played a very critical road in locating him," said Dennis Scroggins, the victim's uncle. "She has all the intimate details of this guy -- description, age, height, weight -- and she was very diligent in helping police with questioning."
Scroggins said that friend also witnessed the crash and came down to talk with the family after it happened.
During an interview with investigators, Jonas said he had been driving east on Lafond Avenue when he came up to a stop sign while the motorcycle was in first gear, going 35 to 40 mph. Jonas admitted to popping a wheelie while leaving the stop sign, and said he could see a woman standing at the back of a car when the front end of the motorcycle came back down.
Jonas said the victim then came running out from the sidewalk, and claims he didn't see the boy until it was too late. He admitted hitting the boy with the right side of the motorcycle, but said he kept driving because he was afraid after he saw a bunch of men running toward him while yelling.
Jonas also told officers that they could find and recover the bike in his friend's garage, which they did.
Drivers license records show that Jonas's driving status is revoked due to speeding tickets and failing to appear or pay his fines.
Hospital staff told the St. Paul Police department that Baymon suffered a skull fracture and a deep cut on his left ribcage that was exposing his internal organs. He underwent surgery, but is still listed in critical condition.
Marcia Scroggins, the victim's mother, said she still thinks that Jonas could have stopped to say he was sorry and apologize. She also asked FOX 9 News to share a photo of her son in the hospital to illustrate the injuries he suffered.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi told FOX 9 news they plan to work very hard to ensure justice is done in this case.
"This is a very horrific incident," he said. "You know -- in fact, I have a 4-year-old boy, and his birthday party this weekend is going to be at Como Zoo. When I read the probable cause statement, I felt sick to my stomach -- just having read what had happened to this 4-year-old boy. It's really sad."