Timothy Bakdash owes nearly $140,000 to the victim of a 2011 hit-and-run that killed a University of Minnesota student and injured two pedestrians, a judge ruled last week.
Bakdash drove the wrong way down Fifth Street Southeast in April 2011, striking then-University student Sarah Bagley and three other pedestrians, including University student Ben Van Handel, who died six days later.
A Hennepin County district judge ruled in a civil suit July 2 that Bakdash, who’s currently serving a 40-year prison sentence, owes Bagley more than $138,000 for medical expenses, past wages lost and emotional distress.
Bagley suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after the crash, the judgment said. She was out with friends, celebrating her acceptance into graduate school that night, when Bakdash, who admitted to being “extremely intoxicated,” hit her with his car.
Bakdash testified he drank 15 to 20 mixed drinks and about three to five shots at the Library Bar and Grill that night. A man slapped Bakdash in the parking lot, he said, trying to start a fight.
After getting in his car with a friend, Bakdash testified he thought he saw the man who slapped him and swerved the car on the sidewalk to “scare him.”
Bakdash testified he remembered hitting two people, one of whom cracked the windshield, but actually hit four, injuring three. Witnesses of the crash testified they heard screams and saw a body fly through the air.
He fled the scene after the accident because he “didn’t want to get into trouble,” Bakdash later testified. A complaint from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office alleged Bakdash sold his car the day of the accident in an attempt to elude police.
The incident culminated in a six-day trial, where a jury found Bakdash guilty of second-degree murder and criminal vehicular homicide — meaning he was guilty of intent but not premeditation.
Peter Riley, Bagley’s attorney, said a different judge still needs to rule whether Bakdash’s insurance company is liable to pay the money he owes Bagley.
Bakdash’s attorney, Brad Colbert, said the insurance company is contesting any obligation to cover Bakdash. They wouldn’t have to pay if a judge determines Bakdash intentionally caused the accident.
Colbert said Bakdash “feels awful” about the accident and isn’t contesting his guilt. The judgment is reasonable, Colbert said, but Bakdash can’t afford to pay if his insurance doesn’t cover it.