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MN jury convicts Bakdash in hit-run death of Appleton native

Ben Van Handel (Photo source: caringbridge.org)
Ben Van Handel (Photo source: caringbridge.org)

MINNEAPOLIS (WTAQ) - A jury in Minneapolis convicted a drunk driver of lesser charges Tuesday afternoon, in the hit-and-run death of a University of Minnesota student from Appleton.

Jurors deliberated for parts of 2 days before finding 29-year-old Tim Bakdash guilty of second-degree murder. He was originally charged with first degree murder in a car crash that killed 23-year-old Benjamin Van Handel of Appleton last April.

Two of Van Handel’s friends – Katelynn Hanson and Sarah Bagley – were seriously injured in the incident. And for that, Bakdash was found guilty on 2 counts of attempted second-degree homicide. He was originally charged with 2 counts of attempted first-degree homicide.

Bakdash, of Roseville Minnesota, jumped a curb and struck the victims while driving home from a night of drinking at a bar in the Dinkytown area of Minneapolis.

During his trial, Bakdash admitted driving the vehicle – but he said he only meant to scare a man whom he believed taunted him as he was leaving the bar. Instead, he said he panicked after seeing one of the women bounce off his windshield.