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Willmar man charged with assault for crash is also facing charges for using false name

WILLMAR -- A Willmar man made his first appearance Wednesday on three false impersonation and aggravated forgery charges for allegedly using a Puerto Rican man's identification.

Amner Neftali Ramos Zui, 26, also faces two gross misdemeanor charges for giving a court official the name or birth date of another. Unconditional bail was set at $25,000 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Ramos Zui, who is also known as Luis Alfredo Perez Lopez, already faces a second-degree assault charge, and criminal vehicular operation and driving while impaired charges, for allegedly using a vehicle as a dangerous weapon in a drunken-driving crash in December. He has a pre-trial hearing in that case today, with a jury trial starting Tuesday.

According to the complaint on the impersonation and forgery charges, Zui was arrested on Dec. 20, after the crash. He provided the Perez Lopez name to officers, signed jail forms and appeared in court twice under the false name. The investigation revealed that U.S. Department of State records showed the passport application in that name did not match. Information from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed Zui's real name, which was used to locate employment documents signed at Jennie-O Turkey Store in Willmar.

An officer contacted the real Perez Lopez, who lives in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Perez Lopez said he had no idea how the man got his identification and that he'd never heard of him.

The complaint on the assault charge was filed after police were called to a motor vehicle crash at the intersection of Business 71 and Civic Center Drive.

They ar-rived to find two smashed ve-hicles, one with rear-end damage, the other with front-end damage.

Through an interpreter, the driver of the first vehicle said the car's occupants had left a local club and were northbound on Highway 71 when the vehicle was struck from behind and pushed across the median into a light pole.

Two pregnant women riding in the backseat were transported to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. Another officer responding to the scene saw a Zui walking away on the east side of the highway and stopped him to ask if he'd been involved in the crash.

Ramos Zui used the Perez Lopez alias and exhibited signs of alcohol consumption. He admitted driving the second car involved in the crash and was arrested. A blood-alcohol test revealed a blood-alcohol content of 0.19.

He was interviewed through an interpreter and said he'd been drinking and that his girlfriend had left the bar with another man, which upset him. He claimed he was looking for the vehicle she left in when his vehicle ran into the vehicle in front of him. He said he didn't intend to strike the other vehicle.

The women were interviewed at the hospital. One woman, pregnant with Ramos Zui's child, reported she had broken off a relationship with him and that she had gotten a ride from the club with someone else because he was too drunk to drive. She said he had threatened her life a week earlier.

The other pregnant woman said Ramos Zui had gotten out of his vehicle after the crash, hollered something at them and walked away.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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