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July 21, 2010  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Woman convicted in fatal bus crash loses appeal


MINNEAPOLIS — On Tuesday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of Olga Franco del Cid, who in February 2008 ran a stop sign and struck the side of a school bus, killing four students on board and injuring 17 others.

Franco del Cid is serving a 12 1/2-year prison sentence after a Kandiyohi County jury convicted her on 24 counts for the accident near Cottonwood. An attorney for the woman, who claimed that her then-boyfriend was the driver, argued on appeal that the evidence against her was insufficient, the Star Tribune reports.
However, in a 29-page decision, a three-judge panel ruled that even though both sides presented conflicting evidence at trial, it’s up to a jury to decide what to believe and which testimony is credible.

"There was sufficient evidence to allow the jury to find that the state had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant was driving the car," Judge Francis Connolly wrote.

Franco del Cid's attorney, Manuel Guerrero, also argued on appeal that statements she made in the hospital after the crash were given involuntarily and should not have been allowed, that jury instructions were given in error, and that statements made by the prosecutor and witnesses amounted to misconduct. 

The Star Tribune reports that the justices rejected those arguments.

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