Semi driver charged with passing school bus; student nearly hit, killed

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An Apple Valley man faces two misdemeanor charges after authorities say he sped past a stopped school bus, nearly hitting a young student about to board.

The Star Tribune reports Allen H. West was charged in Kandiyohi County District Court this week with two statute violations – both relating to illegally passing a school bus – for the May 30 incident, which was caught on widely published video.

It was the last day of school for Paynesville Area Schools seventh-grader Alexis Schwartz, and she was near the end of her family’s driveway near Hawick in central Minnesota, standing back from State Highway 23. Her school bus came to a stop on the two-lane highway to pick up the student, its notification lights flashing and stop arm down. The student can be seen waiting as the bus approaches.

Without warning, a large semitruck plows through the righthand shoulder – directly between the school bus and the waiting student – nearly hitting the girl before continuing down the road at a high speed.

State troopers released video of the incident a few days later, as they sought to find the semi driver who had not stopped afterward. The driver identified himself to authorities that night.

KARE 11 reports the State Patrol says it was West, who called and left a message. When a trooper called back, authorities say West admitted to looking into the farm fields while driving – and when he looked back up, the bus was stopped right in front of him.

WCCO details the specific charges as passing a school bus with flashing lights and signl displayed, and with the stop signal out and lights on. You can read more about Minnesota school bus safety statutes here.

FOX 9 says each misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to a year in jail, and up to a $3,000 fine.

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