Man who shot school bus driver on I-35W sentenced to prison

The road rage incident happened in Minneapolis in February.
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Kenneth Lilly

The man who made headlines for shooting a school bus driver in a road rage incident last winter has learned his fate.

On Friday, 32-year-old Kenneth Lilly was sentenced to more than seven years in prison, according to a news release from the Hennepin County attorney. 

He had originally been charged with second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault in connection with the February incident, which began when Lilly's car was scraped by a school bus on I-35W near Chicago Ave. south downtown Minneapolis.

Video from traffic cameras showed Lilly stop his vehicle in traffic, get out of his car and then walk towards the bus to confront the driver. 

According to prosecutors, Lily tried to get the bus driver, Thomas Benson, to open his door to exchange information, but Benson declined because a child was aboard the bus at the time. 

Lilly told the court that as he walked to the front of the bus, Benson bumped him with the vehicle, prosecutors say.

At that point, Lilly pulled a 9 millimeter semiautomatic pistol from his security guard uniform's holster and fired five shots through the windshield.

One bullet hit Benson in the arm and another grazed his head; the child aboard the bus was not hurt.

In August, Lilly pleaded guilty to a downgraded charge of first-degree assault. His sentence is ten months shy of what prosecutors were asking for.

At his sentencing, he addressed the court, saying he "overreacted to a situation that I believed inaccurately was a threat to my life," and that he had “acted in a hyper-vigilant manner," per WCCO. 

The station says Benson addressed the court as well, telling the judge, "I implore you not to give the minimum."

The shooting left Benson with permanent injuries. He is now deaf in his left ear and suffers from nerve injuries in his hand and arm.

Benson had only started working as a school bus driver four months prior to the incident, and is unable to work as a bus driver again due his wounds.

Following the opening of criminal proceedings against Lilly, it was revealed that he had shot and killed a would-be teenage robber in 2015; he was ultimately found "legally justified" in doing so. 

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