A man accused of a high-speed hit-and-run crash that injured an Edina High School student boarding her school bus struck the teen because he wanted to show others that he had the makings of a killer, according to authorities.
Carlton D. Troutman, 26, of Flint, Mich., remains jailed Friday in his home state and charged in Hennepin County with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon in connection with the Jan. 23 incident on France Avenue near Halifax Avenue.
The bus had its arm out and lights flashing when it stopped on its route. Troutman, with two passengers, raced onto the right shoulder at more than 60 mph and struck senior Kyla Avant as she and others lined up to board, the criminal complaint said.
The 17-year-old was taken to a hospital and released with no major injuries.
One of the men in the car told police he woke up and saw Troutman driving 60 mph toward the stopped bus. Despite the passengers screaming for him to stop, Troutman “sped up and pointed the vehicle at the children,” the complaint read.
Troutman targeted Avant and the other students, the man continued to tell police, “to show that he had the capacity to kill someone,” the complaint said.
“ ‘Anyone can get it: kids mothers, babies,’ ” the man quoted Troutman as saying.
The other passenger said Troutman was “angry and driving erratically,” according to the court filing. He said Troutman was “coldblooded” when he swerved right, accelerated and hit the teenager.
Police found the car in Mankato several days later.
On Saturday, a sheriff’s deputy stopped Troutman in Grand Ledge, Mich., on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Minnesota has filed a warrant for his return from an Eaton County jail cell southwest of Lansing.
Troutman was released from a Michigan prison just two months before the crash after serving 4½ years for a home burglary.
Avant’s mother, Carly Turner, said Friday she was caught off guard when police told her of the driver’s capture.
“I was definitely elated and very relieved that we actually had a person we can hold accountable,” said Turner, who added that her son, 16-year-old Randy Avant, was just inside the bus when his sister was hit.
As for her college-bound daughter, Turner said, “Now that there’s a face, a person and information [about the crash’s circumstances], it’s been a lot for her to process. Kyla is more confused as in, ‘I don’t understand how a person can do that.’ I have more anger because I was not able to protect my child.”
According to the complaint:
Avant landed on the car’s hood and hit the ground roughly 50 feet from where she was struck, and Troutman kept driving.
Police found the car’s owner and learned that he filed what turned out to be a false report with police in Minneapolis, alleging it was stolen from the 5000 block of S. Ewing Avenue, a few blocks from where the crash occurred.
But before Edina police could locate the car, Minneapolis police found it in Edina — unaware of its connection to the crash — and gave the owner a ride to that spot so he could retrieve it.
Five days later, the car was recovered in Mankato and had damage consistent with hitting the student.
Lacey Severins, a spokeswoman for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors “have not foreclosed any options” regarding filing more serious charges such as attempted murder against Troutman or seeking a sentence above state guidelines should he be convicted.
The office is reviewing the case for possibly charging others who were with Troutman that day, Severins said.