ST. PAUL, Minn. - The man convicted of hitting and injuring two Army recruiters with a Jeep in Roseville last September has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Enrico Taylor, 52, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree assault and one count of second-degree assault over the Sept. 17 hit-and-run, which took place in a parking lot at Roseville Center.
Roseville police squads were dispatched to Roseville Center last September after reports of two pedestrians being run down by a Jeep SUV. Witnesses said one of the victims was dragged underneath the vehicle for nearly a mile.
Responding officers located the injured victim, 42-year-old Army Sergeant First Class Travis Torgerson, who was later found to have suffered a broken leg, tailbone and ribs along with numerous abrasions to his tailbone and lower back.
The victim's wife says medical staff told her that the flesh on Torgerson's backside was ground all the way down to the bone. He requires extensive skin-grafting to recover.
The second pedestrian,29-year-old Michael Stroud, rolled over the top of the vehicle, but emerged largely uninjured.
The criminal complaint says that during the dragging incident, Taylor exited the vehicle to attempt to free the victim from underneath the carriage of the Jeep, but was unsuccessful. At that point, witnesses tell police he got back in and continued to drive with the victim trapped underneath the vehicle.
Officers located Taylor's abandoned vehicle in the Motel 6 parking lot in Roseville, and motel staff quickly directed police to a local auto dealership where they had seen Taylor go after leaving his Jeep. The suspect was apprehended without incident.
"This defendant displayed a blatant disregard for the life of a both victims and he is clearly a threat to our community," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. "We will seek to hold the defendant accountable for his actions and pursue justice for the victims and our community."
When officers attempted to question him in the hit-and-run Taylor first denied driving the Jeep or knowing anything about the incident. When told a witness had identified him as the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle Taylor asked to speak to his attorney.
A short time later he told officers he had changed his mind, that he did want to speak about the incident and was concerned about the condition of the men he had struck. Taylor allegedly told police that he was blinded by the sun and couldn't see the men walking when he hit them. He said he "freaked out" after striking the men because his license was suspended.
Taylor said that he heard Torgerson's voice from the back of the Jeep while he was driving so he stopped and tried to free him, but jumped back in the Jeep and sped off when vehicles began approaching.
Investigators also say Taylor admitted to using cocaine and drinking in the days before the hit-and-run, but insisted he had not used narcotics or alcohol that day.