MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A driver that led police on a high-speed chase and crashed into a school bus in Robbinsdale, injuring five children, has been charged.
Argeni Macea Fernandez, 28, has been charged with one count of fleeing police, five counts of criminal vehicular operations causing bodily harm and one count of operating a car under the influence of alcohol.
According to the criminal complaint, just before 7:30 a.m. on March 13 Robbinsdale police received a call of a car in a ditch near Highway 100 and 36th Avenue North.
Upon arrival they found the driver, later identified as Fernandez, attempting to maneuver his car out of the ditch. In doing so, the car slipped down a hill and struck a light pole and roadside post, causing significant damage to the passenger side.
Officers began to approach the car, at which point Fernandez drove out of the ditch and onto the northbound lanes of Highway 100, nearly hitting several cars.
The complaint states officers then put on their emergency lights and sirens to initiative a traffic stop. Fernandez eventually pulled over to the right shoulder, striking a curb just south of County Road 81.
Police once again approached the vehicle, and could smell an overpowering scent of alcohol coming from Fernandez and the car.
During the stop, Fernandez refused to put his car in park or give police his driver’s license. When told to exit the car, he again fled, rapidly accelerating onto northbound Highway 100.
Police began a pursuit and called for backup.
According to the complaint, immediately after fleeing police Fernandez lost control and struck another car. He continued to accelerate, driving over the right shoulder and median divider from the Highway 100 lanes and the connector road from 42nd Avenue to County Road 81. He then struck the sound barrier.
He continued driving southbound on County Road 81 until turning onto 42nd Avenue.
Police said at the intersection of 42nd Avenue and Quail Avenue N., Fernandez crossed into the westbound lane and rear-ended a school bus.
There were 22 passengers, children and adults, on the bus. Five children and the bus driver were taken to North Memorial Medical Center for minor injuries.
Fernandez was arrested on the scene. He is currently in custody.
If found guilty, he could face over eight years in prison, over $21,000 in fines or both.