Female Cyclist Killed in Mpls. Hit-and-Run Identified

Updated: 03/31/2013 6:01 PM KSTP.com By: Mark Saxenmeyer

A 28-year-old bicyclist died early Saturday morning in a hit-and-run.

It happened near the intersection of Lake Street East and Cedar Avenue South in Minneapolis around 2:15 a.m.

Late Saturday the victim was identified as Elyse Mary Stern of Minneapolis.

Witnesses said Stern was riding her bike eastbound on Lake when she was struck by a green Monte Carlo traveling westbound. Police say there is no indication the driver made any attempt to stop. Police say Stern died almost instantly.

"She was not even treated by the paramedics," said Sgt. William Palmer, a public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department.

Minutes later and just blocks away, police found 27-year-old Juan Ricardo Hernandez-Campoceco of Minneapolis. They say two men were with him in the car. "It had very heavy damage," Palmer said.

Police say Hernandez-Campoceco showed signs of alcohol intoxication. They arrested him and booked him into the Hennepin County jail for DWI. They have not released his blood alcohol level.

The incident brought out local activist K.G. Wilson, who usually demonstrates to call attention to gun violence deaths. Wilson and his daughter stood at the intersection of Lake and Cedar Saturday afternoon holding up signs that read "Slow Down" and "Don't Hit Me." He said, "It's still a killing, You still killed someone with your vehicle."

In fact, investigators believe they have probable cause to charge Hernandez-Campoceco with criminal vehicular homicide. They're prepping a case to being to the county attorney.

"Left her for dead and kept going," Wilson said. "To me that's a homicide."

Police say Stern wasn't wearing a helmet, and there were no lights on her bike. It's too soon to know if those factors contributed to her death, but police say this incident should also serve as a warning to all bicyclists as the warm weather brings more and more of them onto the streets this spring.

"I'm not blaming the victim here but certainly one of the lessons that we can take here is that prevention is a key tool," Palmer said. "At 2 in the morning you should certainly have lighting on your bicycle--it's required by the law. And you should certainly should take strong consideration into wearing a helmet. If you are involved in an accident you are much less likely to sustain a serious head injury if you are wearing that helmet."

Police say they're still hoping to hear from more witnesses, or anyone who might have been with Hernandez-Campoceco before the accident. They're asked to call the TIPS Line at 612-692-8477.

Mark Saxenmeyer can be reached at msaxenmeyer@kstp.com