A 70-year-old Hmong woman was killed in a hit-and-run crash involving a stolen car in St. Paul, Minnesota.
A stolen gray Kia Sportage SUV crashed into Phoua Thao Hang and her husband’s vehicle in Forest Street and Magnolia Avenue East at around 10 p.m. on July 17, according to the St. Paul Police.
Hang, a Hmong American and St. Paul resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her husband was reportedly driving at the time of the incident. He fainted after learning his wife passed away at the scene of the crime and was taken to a hospital. Hang’s husband is currently recovering at home.
“Our mom was the center of our world, and today there is only darkness and silence,” Hang’s daughter, Pakou Hang, wrote in a Facebook post. “Please pray for our father and our family as we begin to orient ourselves to this new world.”
Pakou is reportedly the founder and executive director of the Hmong American Farmers Association.
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“My mom was an early riser. Her body must have tuned itself all those years as a farmer,” she added. “She’d often wake up and sit in the living room for a few minutes, before going into the bathroom to start her day. I keep expecting to walk into the living room and see the outline of her body in the dawn light.”
St. Paul Police, K9 units and the Minnesota State Patrol Flight Section searched for the hit-and-run suspects after the incident but were unable to locate them.
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There has been a trend of criminals specifically stealing Kia cars, according to the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s becoming a status symbol. If you steal a nice Kia, they will post it on social media and brag,” Ramsey County Sheriff Deputy Alex Graham reportedly said. “They smash a window, and can get the car going within 45 seconds.”
“Kia America is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim level vehicles in your area,” the automobile manufacturer told KARE 11. “As of the current 2022 Model Year, all Kia vehicles have an engine immobilizer fitted as standard. All Kia vehicles for sale in the U.S. meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.”
The investigation is currently ongoing. The St. Paul Police Department has collected DNA samples and is examining video evidence, according to Interim Police Chief Jeremy Ellison. No arrests have been made in relation to this incident.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the St. Paul Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Unit at 651-266-5722.
Featured Image via KARE 11