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Police: 14-year-old takes school bus for joyride

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No one was injured when a 14-year-old took a school bus for a 3 1/2-mile joyride Monday morning, ultimately ending at a gas station in Roseville, the Star Tribune reports.

The empty bus had been parked at a Holiday station near the intersection of Rice Street and Wheelock Parkway in St. Paul when the teen slipped aboard and took off at about 7:50 a.m., police said. The Centerline Charter Corp. driver had left the keys in the ignition when she went inside for coffee, police said.

The bus driver immediately called an operations manager, who tracked the bus by GPS to an empty nearby bus lot, police said. But radio scanner traffic about the bus theft may have prompted the teen to panic and take the bus back out into traffic, police said.

It was a short but harrowing trip from there – the teen blew through a red light and a four-way stop, and dodged busy morning traffic before finally pulling into a Roseville gas station, where it bumped gas pumps before lurching to a halt, the Star Tribune reports.

FOX 9 has surveillance video from the Shell station, which shows the bus pull into the lot and attempt to turn in front of pumps. The back of the rig then hits a barrier in front of a pump.

The bus manager held the boy until police arrived. The manager told police the boy cried and said he was just trying to return the bus when he got scared, the Pioneer Press reports. The teen could be charged with felony vehicle theft.

The bus is valued at between $40,000 and $50,000, and sustained some damage, the Pioneer Press reports.

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