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Plea deal: Probation for man in north Minneapolis bus stop crash

Victims in the crash suffered injuries including broken legs, spinal fractures, and a traumatic brain injury.

Victims in the crash suffered injuries including broken legs, spinal fractures, and a traumatic brain injury.

George Jensen, driver of a van that plowed through a bus stop on Broadway Avenue, has been offered a plea deal that would put him on probation for three years and require he do 100 hours of community service, the Star Tribune reports.

The plea deal is on hold, for now, as Judge Jay Quam told the courtroom he wants to wait for results of a neurological test of Jensen, who has early onset dementia, according to his defense attorney. 

Jensen, 83, crashed his van into a north Minneapolis bus stop in summer 2019, destroying the shelter and injuring six people, three severely. Seconds earlier, Jensen had run into a Metro Transit bus, not once but twice, as well as "a bench, a news stand, and a bike rack."

The crash left one man with a fractured pelvis, another with broken legs and fractured ribs, and a third with a traumatic brain injury, and a fourth with a "fractured spine," the Star Tribune reports. Jensen was charged with five counts of criminal vehicular operation, which comes with a maximum penalty of five years, depending on the severity of injuries inflicted.

His plea deal would include a one-year term in a jail workhouse, which would instead be served in Jensen's "current housing," and community service related to "distracted and elderly driving." Jensen's license would also be revoked.

Activists have contended Jensen received preferential treatment from prosecutors, and some continue to believe he rammed the bus stop on purpose. 

Jensen, following the lead of his attorney, said the accident could be blamed on "weakness in his legs," which cause him to lose control of his van. Jensen also said he had confused the gas and the brake pedal.

According to charges, Jensen was known to at least one person present that day, who said she'd seen him in the neighborhood asking women if they would give him their phone number in exchange for $10. Another witness said Jensen was "circling the block looking for a woman to pick up." 

Jensen, who lives in Champlin, has no significant criminal history in Minnesota. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 20.