A suspected drunk driver who fled police Tuesday morning and crashed into a school bus has been charged.
Argeni Macea Fernandez, 28, was charged with seven counts Wednesday – fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, five counts of criminal vehicular operation, and a DWI.
Around 7:25 a.m. Tuesday, Robbinsdale police responded to a report of a vehicle in the ditch near Highway 100 and 36th Avenue North. Officers noticed tracks that showed the SUV had skidded over the embankment of an entrance ramp and landed in the ditch.
Officers found Fernandez in the SUV trying to get the vehicle out of the ditch, and in the process it slipped down the hill and hit both a light post and roadside post, causing "significant" damage to his SUV.
When an officer tried to get to the SUV on foot, Fernandez drove out of the ditch and onto northbound 100, where he almost hit "several" vehicles. The officer then went back to his squad car and tried to stop Fernandez, who eventually pulled over on the right shoulder just south of County Road 81.
When the officer went up to the vehicle to speak to Fernandez, he noticed an "overpowering smell of ... alcohol," and Fernandez's eyes were glossy and bloodshot.
Fernandez refused orders from the officer, and when the officer opened his car door and asked him to get out, Fernandez sped off on northbound 100.
He ended up hitting another vehicle, then drove over the shoulder and median between Highway 100 and the connector road from 42nd Avenue North to County Road 81, eventually hitting a barrier, before heading south on County Road 81 and then onto 42nd Avenue North.
At the intersection of 42nd and Quail Avenue North, he rear-ended a school bus. That's when he was arrested.
Five of the 22 students on the bus were hurt, but no injuries were serious.
Fernandez is in custody, the complaint says, with KARE 11 reporting his bail was set at $40,000.
If convicted, Fernandez faces up to three years in prison for the fleeing an officer charge, up to a year for each criminal vehicular operation charge, and up to 90 days for the DWI, as well as possible fines.