Hit & Run Suspect Says He Drove Into People So He Wouldn’t Get Beat Up

(Mankato, MN) – Criminal charges have now been filed against the 21-year-old man who allegedly drove into a crowd of people in Mankato and he claims he did it in self defense.

Juan Carlos Lamas Jr. of Shakopee is facing eight felony counts of assault, four felony counts of criminal vehicular operation and one misdemeanor count of driving drunk.

The incident happened just before 2:00am Sunday after a fight over drugs broke out a party at the Lofts@1633 apartments above the Subway restaurant at Bunting Lane and Monks Avenue.

According to the complaint, passengers in Lamas’ car told police that people were chasing Lamas and surrounded his vehicle, so they were in fear for their safety and panicked – and Lamas stepped on the gas and took off.

Police say Lamas told them a similar story, saying that he had been jumped and assaulted by a bunch of men and he was scared and “I had to hit those people so I would not get beat up.”

The first officer on the scene found one victim with very little skin or muscle in between his knee and foot. Another had a disfigured right foot and continuous blood flow from an open wound, while another’s kneecap was exposed through a wound.

Police say another of the six victims had a cut on his upper left forehead, initially lied about his identification and was intoxicated and not cooperative.

GoFundMe campaigns have been established to help the two young men who were most seriously injured.

All six of the victims were under the age of 21. Alex Batson of Mankato and Yi Kai (Kevin) Chen of Mankato were airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester.

The other victims were Kaylee Johnson of North Mankato, Donovan Hall of Robbinsdale, Caleb Clobes of Mankato and Curtis Nash of Mankato.

Authorities say as the investigation continues, additional charges could be filed.

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(Copyright © 2017 Southern Minnesota News – Alpha Media Mankato. All rights reserved.)

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