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Monica Jensen
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West St. Paul Man Charged With Criminal Vehicular Homicide and Criminal Vehicular Operation in November 2013 Crash - Jon David Devereaux
​Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Jon David Devereaux, age 22 of West St. Paul, has been charged* with multiple crimes in connection with a crash that occurred on November 14, 2013, in West St. Paul that resulted in the death of Robert Joseph Espinoza-Blaeser, age 21 of West St. Paul.  Devereaux was the driver with seven passengers in the car at the time of the crash.  The following charges have been filed in this case: 

• Three counts of Criminal Vehicular Homicide (all felonies alleging violations of various sections of Minnesota Statute 609.21) involving the death of Robert Espinoza-Blaeser.
• Three counts of Criminal Vehicular Operation Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm (all felonies alleging violations of various sections of Minnesota Statute 609.21) involving injuries to one of the passengers.
• 15 counts of Criminal Vehicular Operation Resulting in Bodily Harm (all gross misdemeanors alleging violations of various sections of Minnesota Statute 609.21) involving the injuries occurring to five other passengers.
[All of the passengers were males ranging in age from 17 to 21]

The allegations contained in the criminal complaint reflect that Devereaux and the seven passengers had been together at a friend’s house where they had been drinking alcoholic beverages that evening.  Upon leaving the party, all of the individuals left in an SUV with Devereaux driving.  The vehicle was actually owned by the father of one of the passengers.  One of the passengers later told police that Devereaux was messing around and rolling the steering wheel back-and-forth when the car flipped over.  Another passenger told police that Devereaux was driving in excess of 60 miles per hour while traveling westbound on Bernard Avenue and ran a red light at the intersection of Robert Street immediately prior to the rollover.  It is believed that most of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle as it rolled, including Robert Espinoza-Blaeser. 

The residents who heard the crash looked out their front window and observed the vehicle stuck on a fence in the front yard.  At that time the son of the owner of the vehicle got behind the wheel and rocked it back and forth to try to get it off the fence.  Eventually the vehicle came off the fence and he drove away from the scene.  

West St. Paul police arrived at the scene shortly around 2:25 a.m.  Robert Espinoza-Blaeser was found face down in the roadway and was pronounced dead at the scene.  Another victim was located at the scene and transported to the hospital for treatment.  All others involved in the crash had left the scene at that time. 

After speaking to witnesses at the scene, police were able to locate a severely damaged Chevrolet Blazer in a driveway a few blocks away.  Police later identified Devereaux and the victims and took statements from them all.

Backstrom indicated that the consideration of charges against the son of the owner of the vehicle, who drove the SUV away from the crash scene, will be referred to another County Attorney’s Office, as this individual is a victim in reference to the harm caused by Devereaux in connection with the charges filed in this case, making it a conflict for such prosecution to be handled by this Office. 

Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found in the criminal complaint which is located online at Criminal Complaint Search.  While in custody, a mug shot can be viewed at Inmate Search.

Backstrom commented:  “Tragically, drunk driving remains one of the most significant causes of death and injury on our state’s roadways.  There were 131 deaths caused by drunk or impaired driving in Minnesota in 2013.  In Dakota County, 6 persons were killed in traffic crashes involving impaired driving last year.” 

Backstrom extended his sympathy to the family and friends of Robert Espinoza-Blaeser for their great loss.  Backstrom thanked the West St. Paul Police Department for their thorough investigation of this case and the Minnesota State Patrol who completed a reconstruction of this crash. 

Devereaux will make his first appearance on these charges by noon on Wednesday, January 30th in Hastings. 

If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.

*Criminal charges are not evidence of guilt.  A defendant/suspect is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.