Driver Who Hit Bemidji School Bus Cited For Careless Driving
The driver of a car that hit a Bemidji school bus causing multiple injuries has been cited for careless driving.
According to Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp, Thomas Lee Nielson, 29, of Chattanooga, TN was given the citation after a sheriff’s deputy consulted with the County Attorney’s office.
Careless driving in Minnesota is classified as “any person who operates or halts any vehicle upon any street or highway carelessly or heedlessly in disregard of the rights of others, or in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger any property or any person, including the driver or passengers of the vehicle.” The charge is considered a misdemeanor, which is punishable by imprisonment of up to 90 days, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Sheriff Hodapp says that there could be additional charges in the coming weeks as law enforcement finalize their investigation.
The school bus was traveling southbound on Irvine Avenue shortly before 8:00 AM. Nielsen, the driver of the passenger car, had been east bound on South Movil Lake Road and drove through the stop sign, striking the school bus in the right side, according to a press release.
This caused the school bus to lose control, swerving onto the shoulder and then rolling on its side in the ditch. Two children were pinned inside the bus and one had to be extricated by Bemidji Fire and Rescue.
Several students suffered minor injuries from the crash. Five who were obviously injured were transported by ground ambulance to the Emergency Department at Sanford and one was transferred by air ambulance.
The driver of the vehicle who struck the bus was also transported by ground ambulance to Sanford Medical in Bemidji.
A representative for Sanford Health said that anyone who gave permission for media organizations to know their condition status had been release from the medical center as of Wednesday night. There could be other people still at the hospital that were injured, but the hospital could not confirm that information due to confidentiality.