Authorities charge driver who crashed into Metro Transit bus
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Authorities filed felony charges Monday against a Minneapolis man whose car sliced through the midsection of a Metro Transit bus in St. Paul on Friday, killing a father of six adult children including a daughter he was supposed to walk down the aisle at her wedding this summer.
The Ramsey County attorney’s office charged Tyler Randall Bjelland, 26, with criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Ken Foster, 48, of St. Paul, and with criminal vehicular operation for gravely injuring Anthony Dashawn Jackson, 19, of St. Paul, who remains hospitalized in critical condition with a brain injury.
Foster, who was originally from Chicago, was on his way home from a long day at work and was planning to take his children to dinner Saturday at a new outpost of the Windy City-based Portillo’s restaurant chain, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
He also had seven grandchildren “who he won’t get to see grow up,” said Marilyn Vargas, the mother of Foster’s kids.
“He was the best dad you could ever ask for,” Vargas told the newspaper. “It was all about his kids and grandkids. Any time you bring their dad’s name up now, they’re just crying and crying and crying.”
Witnesses told police that Bjelland had been driving erratically, and at speeds they estimated at 70 to 100 mph. A police officer reported that Bjelland, who was already on probation for a DWI-related conviction, smelled of alcohol after the crash and had bloodshot, watery eyes, the criminal complaint said.
“I don’t know what makes people get behind the wheel of a car like that,” said Marcie Foster, Foster’s sister-in-law. “If you want to put your life in danger, that’s fine, but you’re not thinking about what you’re doing to other people.”
Bjelland is due to make his first court appearance Tuesday. Prosecutors said they’ll ask the judge to set bail at $500,000. Court records don’t list an attorney who could comment on his behalf. He declined to give a statement to police, the complaint said.
Bjelland had to be extricated from his car. He suffered broken ankles and possibly a fractured leg, the complaint said.