A driver is accused of launching his speeding car into the side of a Metro Transit bus, killing one passenger.
Charges against Tyler Randall Bjelland, 26, of Minneapolis, say he was behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Impala that struck a median, went airborne and smashed into the side of a bus before catching fire on Friday evening in St. Paul.
One passenger, 48-year-old father-of-six Kenneth J. Foster, died in the crash, with charging documents for Bjelland revealing the impact severed one of Foster's legs, which police later found on the bus.
Another passenger, age 19, is in critical condition at Regions Hospital with brain swelling that required surgery.
Bjelland himself received serious injuries in the crash, breaking both his ankle and possibly his leg, with officers noting he "smelled of alcohol and he had bloodshot, watery eyes," according to the charges.
He will appear in Ramsey County District Court on Tuesday, and is charged with criminal vehicular homicide, and gross negligence causing great bodily harm.
Prosecutors are seeking $500,000 bail.
Witnesses estimate speeds of up to 100mph
According to the criminal complaint, Bjelland had been witnessed driving erratically in St. Paul's Frogtown neighborhood shortly before the crash.
The horror unfolded at Charles Avenue and Dale Street North, but about half a mile west of Dale another driver said they had been "side-swiped" by an Impala which then sped away eastbound on Charles.
The driver said he tried to follow the Impala, which was "driving at a very high speed and erratically, swerving all over the road," but was unable to catch up until it had hit the bus, the charges say.
Two pedestrians who witnessed the car shortly before the crash said it may have been traveling anywhere between 70 and 100 mph, and was ignoring stop signs, according to the complaint.
Police also spoke with the bus driver, who said the bus was traveling about 25 mph when it was thrown off the road by "a tremendous force." He hadn't realized it had been hit until he got off and saw the fiery Impala.
“The allegations in this complaint and the harm suffered by the victims are disturbing and horrific, and we will do everything we can to ensure that justice is done in this case,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi in a news release.