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.