On Thursday, April 5, Michael Campbell has been sentenced to 52 months in prison for killing his Indian American girlfriend Ria Patel during a car accident on Sept. 17, 2017 in northeast Minneapolis, according to a CBS Minnesota report.
According to an earlier News India Times report, Campbell was found guilty by a Minneapolis jury last month on two counts of criminal vehicular homicide, one for gross negligence and the other for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.
Patel, 20, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota was a junior at the University of St. Thomas and died on the spot when Campbell crashed into a traffic signal while they shared a “passionate kiss” early in the morning on Sept. 17, 2017 while they were returning from a party.
According to a CBS Minnesota report, Campbell told investigators that he ran from the scene because he was “traumatized” by the sight of Patel’s injuries.
Campbell added that he ran for about three miles to the place he was living at the time while he locked himself in his room for several hours and called Patel’s phone multiple times from a blocked number.
He eventually took an Uber ride to St. Michael, Minnesota where his parents live, but didn’t exactly go to their house and instead spent more than a day there while “he came up with a new story” about the kiss from Patel, which distracted him causing the accident.
Campbell’s friends had told police that he was “super drunk” when they saw him just two hours before the crash.
“Mr. Campbell was probably drunk, he smashed into a pole going 65 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone and he ran away. Then he tried to deflect responsibility for his actions by claiming Ms. Patel was responsible for her own death by kissing him. He also put her family through more distress by pretending that she was still alive,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman had said in a statement last month.
“I wish more than anything I could take back that tragic morning and be holding Ria in my arms today. I take full responsibility for the car accident that killed Ria on the morning of Sept. 17. I was the one driving the vehicle, and when Ria kissed me, I did take my eyes off the road to kiss her back. I did leave the scene of the accident, and I can’t even begin to explain how guilty I feel for everything,” Campbell told the court in a prepared statement as he cried and apologized to Patel’s family and friends saying that he “didn’t do it on purpose” and that he “loved her.”
Campbell has had five offensive driving convictions on his record prior to the crash.
In her honor, Patel’s family has created The Ria Foundation where all donations will go to raising awareness about drunk and distracted driving.