MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - An 83-year-old Champlin, Minnesota man is charged after injuring five people when he allegedly crashed his van into a bus shelter in north Minneapolis in July, according to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.
George Reeves Jensen is charged with five counts of criminal vehicular operation.
According to the criminal complaint, on the morning of July 9, Minneapolis police responded to a crash at the bus shelter near Broadway and Lyndale Avenue. Three people were pinned under the rubble of the shelter and another person was trapped under the van's passenger side.
Witnesses told police Jensen had pulled up in his van at the bus stop to talk to some women, one of whom he tried to pay; however, none was interested. One woman told police that in the past, Jensen would pay $10 to women to get their phone number.
Surveillance video showed Jensen drive away from the women at the bus stop. At one point, he appeared to sideswipe a Metro Transit bus, but never stopped to check for possible damage.
Video shows Jensen eventually came back to Broadway Avenue where he drove up on the curb so the van was halfway on the sidewalk. He accelerated and hit a bench, newsstand, bike rack and eventually the bus shelter, which collapsed.
Two people were seriously injured, with one suffering pelvic fractures and significant blood loss, and another breaking both legs and suffering a lacerated spleen. Other victims received treatment for a traumatic brain injury, fractured spine and fractured ribs. While the severity of the injuries may raise questions for greater charges, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says there wasn't enough evidence to raise them.
"Our deepest sympathies are with the innocent people who were just waiting at the bus stop and suddenly were suffering severe injuries," said Freeman in a press release. "But after reviewing the thorough investigation, we just did not have the facts to charge something other than criminal vehicular operation.”
Jensen gave conflicting statements in an interview with police. He claimed he accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake, but could not explain why he had driven on the sidewalk.
Jensen's first appearance has not been scheduled yet.