Motorist with 5 DWIs charged in Brooklyn Center hit-and-run

A motorist stripped of her license years ago with a history of driving drunk has been charged with running over a woman last week in Brooklyn Center and fleeing as the 84-year-old pedestrian lay in the road.

Tammy R. Olson, 59, of Brooklyn Center, was charged in Hennepin County District Court on Friday with criminal vehicular operation in the midafternoon crash on June 1 near Xerxes Avenue and Bass Lake Road.

Police identified the pedestrian as Joyce Acosta of Brooklyn Center. A spokeswoman for North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale said Acosta was in critical condition Tuesday afternoon.

Olson was arrested several hours after the collision, jailed and then released on $40,000 bond. Messages were left for Olson and her attorney Tuesday seeking a response to the allegations.

Court records in Minnesota show that Olson’s fifth drunken-driving conviction occurred in November 2017, when a preliminary breath test taken soon after she left a liquor store in Bloomington measured her blood alcohol content at 0.27%.

Last week’s criminal complaint says Olson’s license had been canceled and she was on supervised release for the 2017 conviction. The state Department of Public Safety said Tuesday that Olson had her driving privileges taken from her more than 4½ years ago.

Court records show that terms of her supervised release that took effect on Nov. 28, 2017, included that any vehicle she drives be equipped with a breath-activated ignition interlock device, which prevents someone with any alcohol in them from starting a vehicle.

Olson and a friend, Robert Crim, together bought the Audi involved in the crash in March 2020, according to state records. Crim told the Star Tribune on Tuesday that the car did not have an interlock device, and Police Cmdr. Garett Flesland said a detective saw no such device on the car.

Crim added that he didn’t know at the time he assisted Olson with the car’s purchase that she had lost her driving privileges or that the vehicle needed an interlock system.

According to last week’s complaint and police:

People nearby told police they saw a car hit a woman shortly after 3 pm as she was walking across Xerxes Avenue near Bass Lake Road.

Flesland said Acosta was not in the crosswalk at the time. “From some reports we received, we think that perhaps traffic in one lane had stopped for her to cross the street, but the suspect perhaps was [driving] in another lane without any stopped vehicles in it,” he said.

Acosta was unconscious when she was taken by ambulance to North Memorial with injuries that included broken bones from her legs to her neck and serious internal bleeding, the complaint read.

Another witness said he saw the car shortly before the crash behind him in the drive-through of a nearby Taco Bell.

He said the woman in the car was “yelling at him for not moving through the drive-through lane fast enough,” the complaint read.

Just as the car was about to speed away from the fast-food outlet, the man took photos of the driver and the license plate before he saw the pedestrian being run over.

Police used the photo of the license plate to track the car to Olson’s garage about five hours after the crash. Olson told police the pedestrian ran in front of her car. She said she drove straight home, rather than stay at the crash scene.

Olson smelled of alcohol and acknowledged to police that she had a few drinks before driving that afternoon. Neither the complaint nor a search warrant affidavit filed as part of the investigation mentioned any law enforcement measurement of Olson’s blood alcohol content since the crash. Authorities prefer to conduct a blood alcohol measurement within two hours of a traffic incident to ensure accuracy.

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