Man who crashed into bus shelter pleads guilty to criminal vehicular operation
An 83-year-old man has pleaded guilty to all charges related to a July 2019 incident in which he crashed into a Minneapolis bus shelter.
George Reeves Jensen, of Champlin, pleaded guilty to five felony charges of criminal vehicular operation Wednesday in Hennepin County Circuit Court. Two of the counts were for great bodily harm, and the other three were for substantial bodily harm.
Jensen's sentencing is set for April 20.
"I have to decide whether to accept this plea," Judge Jay Quam said at the hearing Wednesday morning. "I am not comfortable accepting it, yet, but I will listen, get all of the information I can and then decide."
The judge also sold Jensen and his lawyer he wants Jensen to undergo a neurological exam.
The Hennepin County attorney's office said in return for Jensen's guilty pleas, he would be sentenced to up to 23 months in prison, but he wouldn't have to serve that if he completes three years of probation. He'd also be sentenced to one year in the county workhouse, but could instead do 100 hours of community service.
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On July 9, 2019, six men were injured and three were in critical condition after a Jensen crashed a van into a bus shelter at Broadway and Lyndale avenues in north Minneapolis.
Investigators said Jensen was circling the area before he clipped a bus and hit the shelter. He was tested for alcohol and showed no signs of impairment.
According to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, witnesses told authorities they saw Jensen pull up in front of the shelter and attempt to talk to a few women there. One witness said it appeared Jensen was attempting to pay one of the women.
Surveillance video showed the women by the van and Jensen in the van next to the shelter. Jensen then turned right, drove into a nearby liquor store parking lot and exited onto Lyndale Avenue, driving south. As Jensen passed a Metro Transit bus, he sideswiped it and continued on without stopping to check for damage.
Jensen then turned right onto Broadway Avenue and tapped the brakes several times as he veered between the two lanes. Jensen then "accelerated slowly" and hit a bench, a newsstand and a bike rack before hitting the bus shelter.
Jensen gave conflicting statements to authorities after the incident. He acknowledged he had visited the area before to talk to one woman in particular. While driving, he said he accidentally pressed the gas pedal instead of the brake but didn't explain why.