By Ryan Gueningsman
INDEPENDENCE, MN What appeared to be a vehicle in the ditch quickly turned into much more as a St. Paul man was taken into custody on robbery and kidnapping charges Jan. 16 in Independence.
An officer from West Hennepin Public Safety (WHPS) came upon a 2005 Ford Escape in the ditch on Highway 12 at County Road 90 in Independence at 2:59 a.m.
Upon checking the vehicle, the officer found Daniel Eloi Padilla, 39, of St. Paul, inside.
Padilla told the officer that he was not driving the vehicle and that his girlfriend had left, running eastbound on Highway 12 from Hennepin County Road 90, according to WHPS.
Officers located a 40 year-old white male from Maple Grove running from the vehicle, who identified himself as the owner of the vehicle.
The man was running down the highway without a jacket on and was found to have lacerations and bruising to his face along with a badly swollen right eye, according to WHPS. He told the officers he’d just been carjacked and beat up by Padilla, who was still at his vehicle.
Earlier in the evening, the victim had attended a Minnesota Timberwolves basketball game. He had parked his vehicle in parking ramp B in Minneapolis and as he was leaving, Padilla approached the victim’s vehicle and got into his vehicle.
Padilla grabbed the victim by his throat and threatened his life, began punching him in the face, and told him to keep driving away from Minneapolis or he was going to kill him, according to WHPS.
While driving westbound on I-394/US Highway 12 and into Maple Plain and Independence, Padilla continued physically assaulting the victim and threatening his life. Padilla stole the victim’s money, wedding ring, and jacket from him, according to WHPS.
The victim feared for his life and safety so he intentionally crashed his vehicle in the ditch to escape from Padilla.
“He would not talk about any of his motives with the officers, so we can assume a lot of things, but really don’t have anything I could consider a motive other than he wanted a ride and wanted money,” WHPS Director Ray McCoy said. He also noted that the incident happened to occur on Padilla’s birthday.
Padilla is currently in custody at Hennepin County Jail and has been charged by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for felony kidnapping, felony aggravated robbery in the first degree, and felony terroristic threats. His bail has been set at $100,000.
“To prevent yourself from becoming the victim of a crime, you must always keep your vehicles’ windows up and doors locked and be aware of your surroundings in and around your vehicle at all times,” McCoy added.
McCoy added the victim was sore from the incident and had minor injuries.