83-year-old driver pleads guilty in Minneapolis shelter crash that injured 5

George Jensen pleaded guilty for driving into a Minneapolis bus shelter last summer, an incident that injured five people.

An 83-year-old man has admitted he is guilty for crashing into a Minneapolis bus shelter, seriously injuring five people last summer.

George Jensen entered the plea Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court as part of an agreement with prosecutors that will keep him from spending time in custody. A judge says, however, he isn’t ready to accept the terms until gathering more information.

Jensen pleaded guilty to five counts of criminal vehicular operation, describing the incident a couple times as an accident and not an intentional act.

At his hearing, Jensen and his attorney laid out what happened, explaining it was a combination of early onset dementia, leg weakness, distraction from talking to people out his passenger window, trouble operating a large van and confusion over the gas and brake pedals. 

But some community members aren’t buying it.

“None of it makes sense,” said Daphne Brown, a community activist. “All of it is a lie. All of it is a distraction and they’re petty excuses. And we’re sick of it.”

Brown has been outspoken about the crash and maintains that the incident was a hate crime. She says Jensen was known for cruising the area and offering cash to women and that he chose to target a group of African-Americans.

“He knew exactly what he was going. He’s not early onset dementia,” said Brown.

As part of Jensen’s plea deal, prosecutors agreed to no jail time. A year in the workhouse would instead be converted into 100 hours of community service at Jensen’s current home with a focus on elderly and distracted driving issues. Jensen would ultimately have to surrender his license and give up driving privileges.

Before that happens, Judge Jay Quam has to accept the plea deal and he says he is not ready to do that just yet. He wants Jensen to undergo neurological testing to better understand Jensen’s mental capacity. Jusge Quam also wants to hear from those injured in the crash to see how they feel about the potential punishment.