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August 19, 2010  |   Comments (3)   |   Post a comment

Former bus driver sentenced in Minnesota accident


BRAINERD, Minn. — Former school bus driver Westal John Maine was sentenced on Monday to 10 days in jail and charged a $135 fine for moving a school bus without ensuring that a child was out of the way. The child, 6-year-old Evan Lee Lindquist, was struck and killed.

Maine pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge earlier this month, the Brainerd Dispatch reports. The incident occurred in March. Maine dropped the boy off at his home, and he had to cross in front of the bus and cross one lane of traffic to reach his driveway.  
According to the criminal complaint in the case, Maine said he saw no traffic, believed he had signaled to Lindquist to cross the road and recalled seeing him cross in front of the bus. Maine then became distracted by children on the bus; when he turned back around, he did not see Lindquist in front of the left bumper of the bus.

When he began to move the bus, Maine said he felt a bump toward the right rear of the bus. When he looked in his rearview mirror, he saw the boy lying in the roadway, according to the Brainerd Dispatch.

Maine's jail time was suspended for one year under the following conditions: he participate in a speaking engagement with area bus drivers in an effort to educate them on school bus operator safety; he write a letter to Lindquist's family explaining what occurred at the time of the accident; and he participate in victim-offender mediation, if Lindquist's family requests it.

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Linda and Andrea - did you not read the title? "Former Bus Driver . . ." He was terminated, and the court thought that making restitution through speaking (pleading) with others to be more aware of the dangers as well as mediation with the family would be more helpful than jail time. He is a 74 year old man who has spent his life doing good, and now this tragedy is what he'll be remembered for.

aaron sutton    |    Oct 11, 2010 11:14 AM

Is Minnesota crazy? I am working on my 27th year of driving school busses. I would not expect to evn step back onto a school bus IF I ever hit a child while I was in the driving posistion on a bus. It would be automatic termination at that very point. All drivers are trained that any little thing can be distracting. NO matter what you always make sure there are no children in the vacinity of the bus when you are preparing to move it. Keep your eyes wide open and watch for the children!!!

Linda Smith    |    Sep 13, 2010 11:44 AM

What is Minnesota State thinking ? 10 days in jail & $135 fine ? What an unsult on top of insult. I have driven school bus in California for 18 years. I would expect to loose my certificate/comm license FOREVER, not to mention jail time and whatever else was deemed necessary. That was total driver error as well as lack of state laws that do not require children to be ESCORTED across streets by the driver. Minnesota get onboard... At the very least honor this child's memory...DRIVERS SHOULD PROVIDE AN ESCORT ACROSS THE STREETS FOR THEIR BUS STUDENTS. RED LIGHTS FLASHING, STOP SIGN IN HAND, THE WHOLE NINE YARDS. There doesn't need to be anymore Evan Lindquist tragedies.

Andrea Leonard    |    Aug 20, 2010 10:42 AM

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