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83-year-old driver charged in north Minneapolis bus stop crash

According to witnesses, George Jensen was known to offer women money in exchange for their phone numbers.

According to witnesses, George Jensen was known to offer women money in exchange for their phone numbers. Facebook

Champlin resident George Jensen's criminal history in Minnesota consists solely of vehicular mistakes: Speeding, blowing a stop sign, parking and/or stopping his car where it's not allowed.

Today, Jensen, 83, is facing more charges relating to his misuse of a vehicle. This time, the accusation is that he rammed into a north Minneapolis bus stop, injuring five people, leaving some with serious injuries.

The aftermath of the July 9 crash was captured on cell phone video, with some immediately speculating Jensen might've targeted the victims because they were black. Three victims were pinned under the bus shelter rubble when cops arrived, according to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office announcement, and a fourth was still stuck under Jensen's van. 

All five survived, per the announcement, which also includes this creepy explanation for how this all might have started:

Two witnesses told investigators that they saw Jensen pull his van in front of the bus stop and was talking to three women, one standing by the driver’s door and two others by the passenger door. One of the witnesses said it appeared Jensen was trying to pay one of the women but none of them were interested, the complaint states. One of the women told police that she knew Jensen as Howard and that he had been coming around for three years and would give the women $10 if they would give him their phone number.

Just prior to hitting the bus shelter, Jensen was seen driving erratically: First he collided with a Metro Transit bus, not once but twice, and didn't stop to check the damage. He then "crept slowly out into the intersection," running a red light, and positioned his car on the Broadway Avenue sidewalk. Before running into the bus stop, Jensen hit "a bench, a news stand, and a bike rack," the announcement says.

The incident itself was also caught on surveillance tape, which is lucky for those seeking justice: At first, Jensen told investigators the crash was a complete accident, and  that he'd thought his foot was on the brake instead of the gas. An investigator's subequent review of surveillance tape showed Jensen driving at a "very slow rate of speed," with his foot on the brakes, before suddenly accelerating ahead in a "grossly negligent manner."

Jensen faces five counts of criminal vehicular operation, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. He is not in custody yet, according to the Hennepin County Jail.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said determining charges against Jensen was "perplexing," and that the degree of injuries he inflicted "raises questions about more severe charges."