Dakota County District Court has charged a Stillwater man with a pair of felonies after allegedly hitting a bicyclist with his vehicle while under the influence Nov. 4 in Eagan and then driving away.
According to the criminal complaint, an Eagan police officer on routine patrol discovered a bicyclist had been struck by a vehicle on the shoulder of Wescott Road east of Denmark Avenue.
The officer administered first aid and the victim was transported to a hospital.
The victim’s bike sustained substantial damage and officers found gouges where the bike likely hit the pavement. Debris from the collision extended approximately 55 yards along Wescott Road.
Officers collected two large broken pieces from a vehicle at the scene and determined they came from a General Motors truck or SUV from 2014-18.
The following day, officers went to the hospital to speak to the victim who indicated he was biking home from the YMCA.
He said he was traveling westbound along the shoulder of the north side of Wescott Road. He remembered going up a hill, but did not recall anything else until he woke up in the hospital.
He had four broken ribs, two fractured vertebrae and sustained several scrapes and bruises.
Officers contacted homeowners in the area with external cameras. One homeowner said they believed their camera caught the audio and video of what happened immediately following the crash.
Officers saw a black truck pulling a cargo trailer in the video and put out an alert.
An Eagan officer while on patrol Nov. 5 located the suspect’s vehicle with damage to the passenger side and side mirror.
Joseph Sherman Holzinger, 39, of Stillwater, was identified as the driver. According to the compliant, he allegedly appeared unsteady on his feet and lost his balance. Officers could smell alcohol coming from his breath and noted his eyes were bloodshot.
He blew a 0.26 on the preliminary breath test and was placed into custody. Minnesota’s legal alcohol-concentration driving limit is 0.08.
While in jail, Holzinger allegedly called a friend who said he was being questioned for “hitting a guy yesterday.” At that point, officers had not asked about the bike incident.
During an interview, Holzinger admitted to drinking and texting while driving Nov. 5.
As for Nov. 4, he said he was at his a worksite.
Officers interview people at the worksite who indicated Holzinger was possibly intoxicated that day as he was allegedly slurring his words and repeating conversations.
Those at the worksite indicated there wasn’t damage to the vehicle before he left. Surveillance video showed Holzinger leaving the worksite approximately 1:43 p.m., a few minutes before officers found the bicyclist.
Holzinger was charged with two felony counts of criminal vehicular operations resulting in substantial bodily harm: negligence and under the influence of alcohol, and causes collision and leaves scene.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $20,000 fine.