OTSEGO, Minn. (KMSP) - The driver of a pickup truck that hit 3 Rogers High School students on the way to the bus stop in Otsego, Minnesota on Thursday has been charged with 3 counts of criminal vehicular operation. According to court documents, 22-year-old Cody Pech told investigators he didn't see the students or the bus with its flashing lights and extended stop arm.
The incident happened around 6:50 a.m. Thursday near Parrish Avenue NE and 78th Street in Otsego. The students were transported to a nearby hospital where two are in critical condition and the other is in serious condition. Two of the students are freshmen and the other is a sophomore.
The students have been identified as: Greta Jenson, 15, Beckett Olson, 15, and Ian Orina, 15, all from Otsego. Students gathered at Rogers High School on Friday to show their support for their injured classmates. All 3 students remain hospitalized at HCMC.
Bus driver's point of view
The driver of the school bus estimates Pech was driving at speeds of 30 mph to 40 mph when he struck the students, with no signs of slowing down. Hitting the students isn’t believed to be intentional, but court papers say Pech was driving with such “gross negligence” when he caused the crash and the devastating injuries.
More students nearly hit
Rebecca Perego’s son was at the bus stop and narrowly escaped when his backpack was clipped by the truck’s mirror.
“I don’t know what was going on in that driver’s head.” Perego said. “If you saw the front end of car, you know how bad it was… people hit deer and the animals don’t survive. I am just amazed the kids are making it so far.”