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Charges expected in fatal hit and run

An Oronoco man arrested early Saturday morning in connection with a pair of hit-and-run accidents in downtown Rochester that left one person dead is expected to face a string of charges, including criminal vehicular homicide.

Christopher Allen Trautman, 32, was arrested about 20 minutes after the accidents as he came out of the Days Inn at West Center Street and First Avenue Northwest.

Police Lt. Dan Muyres said four pedestrians were hit at two separate locations. Austin Melville, 23, of Rochester was killed and Christopher Glenski, 22, of Rochester was injured as they were crossing Broadway at Fourth Street Southeast when they were struck. The crash occurred just after midnight.

Rebecca Dass, 23, and Tum Chan, 30, both of Rochester, were hit while crossing Broadway at Center Street.

Glenski, Dass and Chan remain hospitalized at Saint Marys Hospital in fair condition today.


Crash in crosswalk

Sakin Aksan wishes he never had to witness what he saw early Saturday outside Club Amsterdam, the downtown nightclub he owns.

Aksan and Rochester police officer Jim Novak were casually chatting about taxi parking spots when they heard a crash, followed by a scream that, even now, makes the bar owner's face cringe.

"I will remember it for the rest of my life," he said.

"We turned back and saw that a guy was just flipped over — and then he fell," Aksan said.

Melville and Glenski had been struck by a car at the intersection kitty-corner from where the officer and Aksan stood. 

For a moment, Aksan said, the car that had hit the two men stopped. But then it left the scene at a high rate of speed.

Novak, who had been standing next to Aksan, radioed in a description of the car and went to render aid to the victims, police Sgt. Tom Faudskar said.


Investigation continues

Muyres said it is not clear yet whether the pedestrians or motorists had the green light at Fourth Street.

He said the pedestrians were crossing Broadway headed east, then about halfway across, started back west. Muyres said one northbound car told officers he stopped because the pedestrians were in the road. Muyres said they were hit by a second northbound car, believed driven by Trautman.

Just minutes later, officers came upon Dass and Chan, two other pedestrians who had been struck at Center Street.

Near the intersection was a green Honda Civic. Muyres said it is clear the pedestrians had the green light in this case. He said Trautman was in the right lane at the southeast corner of the intersection and crossed through the intersection, hitting the two pedestrians, who were in the northwest section of the intersection, crossing Broadway.

Muyres said Trautman then allegedly jumped out of his car and ran. He was found minutes later walking out of the hotel a block away.  He had blood from cuts on his face, Muyres said. He was taken to Saint Marys Hospital. A blood sample was taken for testing. 

Muyres said a 34-year-old female acquaintance was a passenger in Trautman’s car. She told officers that they had been out drinking earlier in the evening and he was taking her home. She was released by police.

"Alcohol use is suspected as a factor in the crash," Faudskar said.


Trautman has had several previous brushes with the law.

In fact, he was on probation until a year ago for a felony drug offense. That felony fifth-degree controlled substance charge was dismissed Oct. 1 after he met all of the conditions of his probation. The judge had stayed adjudication at the time of sentencing on condition that he be on probation and comply with all terms. Because Trautman met all of the conditions, the felony charge does not appear on his record.

Olmsted County court records show that among the probation conditions imposed were to obtain a chemical dependency evaluation and treatment if required, not possess alcohol or drugs, no possession of alcohol or drugs and be subject to random testing.

Trautman has had several convictions since the late 1990s for everything from petty misdemeanor speeding to misdemeanor domestic abuse and driving while impaired. In at least two cases, probation conditions spelled out include chemical dependency evaluations and treatment if recommended; orders to not use or possess alcohol or drugs, and to stay out of bars.

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