Roseville police seek man charged in fatal hit-and-run


Daniel Alexander Jennings

Police are searching for a man accused of leaving the scene of a July 22 crash in Roseville that killed a young man who was apparently lying in the road.

Daniel Alexander Jennings, 36, was charged July 30 with a felony for failing to stop after allegedly hitting and killing a 23-year-old from Minneapolis near the Radisson Hotel in the 2500 block of Cleveland Avenue.

Police allege Jennings hit and killed Michael James Strong around 2 a.m. July 22 after witnesses said Strong had laid down on Cleveland Avenue following a fight with his girlfriend. The woman told police that she and Strong had been drinking but that neither were heavily intoxicated.

Jennings spoke to Roseville police over the phone the day of the crash and allegedly admitted to hitting Strong and then leaving the scene, court documents say. He arranged to meet officials at the Roseville Police Department but never showed up.

Though police say Jennings had been living at a nearby Motel 6 on Cleveland Avenue, court records from a previous conviction earlier this year for giving false information to police indicate Jennings recently lived in Lima, Ohio.

The maximum penalty for failing to stop following a traffic collision that causes injury or death is three years, a $5,000 fine or both.

According to court documents, Roseville police headed to the 2500 block of Cleveland Avenue, located just south of County Road C, on a report of two people fighting in a parking lot near the Radisson.

Officers found Strong’s body lying face down, bloody and completely unresponsive, court documents say. There were indications that he’d been dragged. Allina medics declared Strong dead at the scene.

Court documents say that police interviewed Strong’s girlfriend, who told them he’d said following their argument something along the lines of “I want to die, I want to kill myself.”

Police spoke to a truck driver who’d been headed northbound on Cleveland and saw the events leading to Strong’s death. The trucker said he’d seen someone lying in the road and a vehicle headed south on Cleveland going fast toward the person.

The trucker said he blew his horn to try to alert the other driver but that person still hit Strong, court documents say. The trucker told police he watched the car stop momentarily 20 to 25 feet from Strong before continuing on. 

The truck driver gave a description of the vehicle and its driver, describing someone who looks like Jennings, court documents say.

Security footage viewed by police backed up the trucker’s account, court documents say, showing Strong hit and dragged by an SUV. The video shows the driver walk up to Strong’s body and linger for a few moments before getting back in the vehicle and driving to the parking lot of the Motel 6.

A witness told police another man was inside the vehicle with Jennings, court documents say. Police tracked down that man, who allegedly identified Jennings as the driver, saying the two had been working at Wendy’s together and were on their way home when the crash happened.

Police towed Jenning’s vehicle from the motel and it showed indications that it had indeed hit Strong, court documents say.

In his conversation with Roseville police, court documents say Jennings allegedly admitted to hitting Strong and said he wanted to talk to police that morning but that they were busy. Jennings allegedly said he didn’t see Strong before hitting him. Police allege Jennings said he knew he was in trouble.

Police ask anyone who knows where Jennings is to call the Roseville Police Department at 651-792-7008 or to submit a tip online at www.cityofroseville.com/3194/Crime-Tips.

Strong was described in his obituary as “an easy going person, a funny guy, always caring, and a good person to talk to in difficult times.” He was a musician who worked at Best Buy and was expecting his first child at the time of his death.

Strong was buried in St. Mary Cemetery in Red Lake.

 

—Mike Munzenrider

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