AP NEWS

Man pleads guilty in bus shelter crash; judge reviewing plea

February 6, 2020 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An 83-year-old man pleaded guilty Wednesday for crashing his van into a Minneapolis bus shelter last July, injuring five people, but the judge has not decided whether to accept his plea.

The Hennepin County prosecutor’s office said George Jensen pleaded guilty to five counts of criminal vehicular operation. Jensen, who lived in Champlain at the time of the crash and turns 84 at the end of February, would face up to nearly two years in prison, although he would not have to serve that time if he completes three years of probation. He also would have to pay restitution to cover the victim’s medical costs.

Judge Jay Quam will decide whether to accept his plea on April 20. The judge said at Wednesday’s hearing that he is “not comfortable accepting it, yet, but I will listen, get all of the information I can and then decide,” according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s office.

Quam told Jensen and his attorney that he wants Jensen to undergo a neurological exam. Jensen’s attorney told the judge that Jensen is in the early stages of dementia.

Black activists have questioned whether the crash was intentional because Jensen is white and the five people he hit are all black.

Jensen’s attorney said Jensen wanted the court and the people to know he did not hit the bus shelter on purpose.

“That is true,” Jensen said.

According to the complaint, one victim suffered multiple pelvic fractures resulting in significant blood loss as well as fractured ribs and vertebra, while another suffered fractured ribs, a spleen laceration, broken legs, a scalp cut and a bruised lung.