October 2, 2022

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Vehicular homicide charge filed over deadly collision in Rochester | News

ROCHESTER, Minn. – A man is now facing a homicide charge over a fatal collision in Rochester. 

Deng Tong Kwel, 20 of Rochester, is accused of criminal vehicular homicide. 

The Rochester Police Department says Kwel was driving south on East Circle Drive NE just before 1:30 pm on April 11.  According to witness statements, Kwel was driving at a high rate of speed and weaving in and out of traffic before he lost control, went through the median, and crashed into a northbound vehicle driven by Cynthia Gomez, 22 of Rochester. 

Police say the collision killed Gomez and injured her passenger, Billy Staff, 46 of Rochester.  The collision happened near the intersection with Century Valley Road NE and closed East Circle Drive for about five hours. 

Officer say they found a phone at the scene of the crash that appears to belong to Kwel.  Investigators say it had an active app similar to Google Maps that would be used for directional assistance. 

Kwel reportedly told police his vehicle had a bad alignment, always pulled to the left, and that’s what caused the collision.  Investigators say a review of dashcam video of the crash let them estimate Kwel’s was going at least 89 miles per hour when he lost control of his vehicle.  The speed limit for that portion of East Circle Drive is 55 miles per hour.