Police in Roseville, Minnesota report that a 14-year-old boy stole a school bus and crashed it soon after earlier this week. The St. Paul Public School bus was reportedly stolen from outside the Holiday gas station where the driver had left the empty vehicle running while heading in to pick up a cup of coffee.
According to Roseville officers, the boy said that at around 7:50 a.m. on Monday morning he saw the bus running outside the gas station and after observing it for about 20 minutes, he determined that it had been abandoned. The boy reportedly told police that he took the bus only with the intention of returning it to its rightful place in the Centerline Bus Company’s parking lot. He drove a short distance and did pull into the bus company’s lot, but then apparently became alarmed and drove away again. He is said to have become frightened by police chatter about the bus, which the driver had quickly reported stolen, and attempted to pull into another gas station. As he did so, he collided with a barrier in front of one of the pumps. At that point, police say, the boy began to cry and became apologetic, saying that he only wanted to return the bus.
One Roseville officer said that he had never seen anything quite like the school bus theft in his entire police career, and that he was thankful that no one was injured as a result of the teen’s antics.
A bus company employee who followed the stolen bus from the company’s lot to the site of the crash that ended the young man’s travels reportedly detained the suspect at the Shell station until authorities arrived on the scene to take him into custody. He was placed in a St. Paul juvenile detention facility.
The 14-year-old Minnesota boy isn’t the first to take a ride in a stolen school bus and have the adventure end with a crash and a visit from police. Last September a 19-year-old Pennsylvania teen snatched a bus from the Conestoga Valley School District lot resulting in a police chase and a crash. The young man reportedly fled the scene of another crash before stealing the school bus, and leading police, sirens blaring, on a wild ride that ended with him crashing the bus on to a surprised family’s lawn in the wee hours of the morning. Police were surprised to learn that the suspect, Ryan Brock, had been charged with the theft of another school bus just one month earlier.
Brock was charged with a long list of offenses including multiple theft charges, traffic offenses and counts related to fleeing police and endangering other motorists. He is reportedly still serving time for those and related charges.
The unnamed 14-year-old Minnesota boy accused of stealing a school bus and crashing it was formally charged with felony auto theft and two counts of criminal damage to property stemming from his alleged crime. If convicted, the charges could carry as much as five years in jail and a $10,000 fine. He has been released to his parent’s custody and is expected to return to court on March 6.
By Michele Wessel
Fox Twin Cities