St. Paul 14-year-old takes school bus for a three-mile cruise

Centerlinebus_RosevillePolice.jpg
courtesy Roseville Police
The bus this morning, where it was stopped by a Shell station fuel island.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Especially if you're driving a school bus.

See Also:
- Benito Hernandez Romo Jr. allegedly steals car during job interview
- Raymond Gurneau takes cop car for joy ride and crash


This morning, a 14-year-old St. Paul boy spotted an empty school bus parked at a Holiday station, hopped in, and drove off. But, he later told police, he was just trying to be helpful: He'd been watching the bus for 20 minutes, and it seemed abandoned. He wanted to return it to its owners, Centerline Charter, based a half-mile up the road.

Instead, he ended up three miles away, where Roseville police arrested him and took him to the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center.

The weirdest part: Before he kept going, he really did take the bus back to Centerline.

"If your intent is to steal, then why are you pulling into the transit center?" says Lt. Lorne Rosand, of the Roseville Police Department. "It's a head-scratcher."

The ride started not long before 8 a.m., when the boy got onto the empty bus, according to Rosand. He had a backpack with him, but police don't yet know if he was en route to school.

The bus's keys were in the ignition, and the boy put the vehicle into drive.

Meanwhile, police got a call alerting them to a stolen bus, and the bus's rightful driver called her boss at Centerline to tell him her bus had been taken. Not long after the manager got off the phone, the boy pulled the bus into the company's parking lot.

"My initial reaction was, 'No, he didn't,'" says Rosand. "But it was corroborated by the manager."

The boy, though, then heard voices on the bus's radio talking about him. He panicked, he later told police, and so he left the parking lot and kept on driving. The operations manager climbed into his truck and followed him.

A chase between the manager and the teen ensued, with the manager at one point pulling up next to the bus and yelling at the 14-year-old to stop driving. According to police, the boy violated several traffic laws, including running through a four-way stop and driving against traffic.

"The community is extremely fortunate that no one was injured," Rosand says.

Finally, after three miles, the boy turned into a Shell station in Roseville. There, he sideswiped a fuel island. The pause gave the Centerline manager enough time to stop him, and police arrived soon after.

The manager told police that the boy was crying, but unharmed. He's awaiting charges, and will likely be facing felony vehicle theft.

"You just don't hear about 14-year-olds taking school buses," says Rosand. "I've been doing this for 30 years, and this is the first."

-- Tips or comments? Reach Olivia LaVecchia by email or on Twitter at @olavecchia


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
36 comments
Shannon Henry Erickson
Shannon Henry Erickson

I agree the bus driver has half the blame here for the stupidity of leaving a running bus. Why not just put a sign on it that says Steal Me?!

Dayton Long
Dayton Long

If I saw someone steal my vehicle, I'd follow too. The LAST thing I'd worry about is the feelings of the thief.

Corey DeGuia
Corey DeGuia

Ok, where's the "I just wanna do hood rat stuff with my friends" meme?

Chris Fuentes
Chris Fuentes

10/10 sez the bus company hires him right out of high school

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

He's lucky only the bus company worker got to him. Had the police initiated pursuit they would have flipped the bus on it's side and emptied 10 clips into the bus before questioning.

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

And if you read my comment I said, "at least a misdemeanor". I mean, I think we agree that he has to be charged with something. Does he have a history of this? The article doesn't say. Let's just make sure he knows that stealing buses and endangering other citizens is not okay.

Bob Henry
Bob Henry

yikes! That's the gas station I go to!

Shawn Laughton
Shawn Laughton

Matt. I did read the article. Did you? Did you see where they want to throw a felony on him? I say charge him with a stay of adjudication with no same or similar for 1 year. And lex in case you didn't know what a felony is. It is something that sticks with you forever, the rest of your life. Dose he need to be punished? Absolutely... With a felony? No. He's 14. He's a kid.

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

What a scary situation. I am glad no one was harmed. But this kid has to be punished.

Jason McCain
Jason McCain

A bus is a class B vehicle and I believe has air brakes. Surprised the kid knew to push the button to release the air brakes.

Jennifer Foxhoven
Jennifer Foxhoven

Why were the keys left in the ignition?! That is the bus drivers fault too!

Lex Lambent
Lex Lambent

right. he's 14. you have to do a lot worse than this to have your whole life ruined...he'll be fine.

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

In case you didn't read the article. He stole a school bus, drove it three miles (without a license) and violated traffic laws. I'd give him at least a misdemeanor and force him to clean out school buses for a year as community service. At a minimum. The kid could have hit a car, pedestrian or something else with a 10,000 pound tank

Wayne Robbins
Wayne Robbins

for a 3 mile cruise ...a 3 mile cruise ..then the weather started getting rough and the tiny bus was tossed ....(sing in Gilligans island theme song)

Patrick Turnquist
Patrick Turnquist

What gives the Centerline Manager the right to chase him?? The kid was probably scared to death at that point.

Mike Miller
Mike Miller

To bad he isn't a rich kid from Texas, he could have ran over people at the gas station and not have had to worry.

Jason McCain
Jason McCain

I'm no child psychologist but, I think the kid spent a lot of time playing GTA.

Susannah Prewitt
Susannah Prewitt

I was across the street at the BP when this happened! Insanity!

Shawn Laughton
Shawn Laughton

Yes let's ruin this kids life with a felony for being an idiot. For real. He's 14. Should he really have to suffer for the rest of his life for this?

Lorie Haddad
Lorie Haddad

Spell check your article. You lose credibility with simple grammatical and spelling errors.

Lex Lambent
Lex Lambent

this kid is about to start sitting at the cool table....after juvi

kelly.roberts19
kelly.roberts19

FACT:  republicans are evil subhuman garbage and have no right to be alive, it is America's moral obligation to humanity to exterminate all conservatives and send them to hell where they belong. 

TruDat
TruDat

Would that be under the 'attractive nuisance law?' LOL

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

The felony record would go away when he turns 18 unless they charge him as an adult which I highly doubt they will.

TC4L
TC4L

I was confused by this ranting post at first, then realized I was on City Pages.  Sounds like this kid found an excuse to get in a bus and drive it.  In his own mind at least. Not really a head scratcher. 

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...