Police have identified the driver who crashed into a north Minneapolis bus shelter on Tuesday, leaving six people injured, as George Jensen of Champlin.
Jensen, 83, was behind the wheel of a 2002 gold Ford van that plowed into the shelter at the intersection of West Broadway and Lyndale Avenue N. about 9:25 a.m. after hitting a Metro Transit bus, according to a Metro Transit police report.
The report lists few details about the incident, which stunned witnesses and has investigators trying to find out exactly what happened. Jensen was briefly detained, but was later released.
Police did not do a field-sobriety test because Jensen didn’t exhibit signs of impairment, Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla said Wednesday afternoon.
“The driver gave investigators no indication that this was an intentional act,” Padilla said.
Authorities did say the crash was not the result of a chase. The van remains impounded, according to the police report.
Calls to Jensen’s home have not been returned. His criminal record is limited to minor traffic infractions from more than six years ago.
One man who was at the bus stop and injured was treated at the scene and released. Two Minneapolis men, Zewdu Eshetu, 56, and Richard H. Smith, 52 remain in critical condition at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale. Napolean Durley Jr., 61, of St. Louis Park, has been upgraded to fair condition at North Memorial, while Anthony Brown, 56, and Elmuiz E. Gubartialla, 57, both of Minneapolis, are in stable condition at HCMC.
Witnesses say that Jensen was heading south on Lyndale Avenue and clipped the mirror of a southbound Route 22 bus that had stopped at W. Broadway to unload passengers. Jensen backed up and struck the mirror a second time, then went around the corner and crashed into the bus shelter on Broadway, Padilla said.
Shauntae Cosby, who was a passenger on the Route 22 bus, watched in horror as the van accelerated and jumped the curb, landing on at least one man.
Witnesses yelled at Jensen, who got out of his van and stood expressionless, she said.
The mangled shelter and broken glass covered the sidewalk at the bus stop in front of a strip mall that includes a Cricket Wireless outlet, a liquor store and a check-cashing business. The bus stop is a popular place for people to hang out, and it was busy Tuesday morning.
Police are searching for security video from local businesses that may have captured the incident.