School bus driver charged in fatal Brooklyn Park hit-and-run will plead guilty

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Bring Me The News
Nov 29, 2021

A school bus driver charged with fatally running over a woman while students were onboard, then fleeing the scene, has said he will plead guilty.

Jason R. Rynders, 35, agreed to plead guilty to one count of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the fatal crash from spring of 2020, according to court documents filed Wednesday. In exchange, prosecutors will not argue for a prison sentence longer than 48 months, the petition states.

Sentencing for the Maple Grove man is set for 10 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2022.

Rynders, the charges say, was behind the wheel of a school bus (with about four or five students onboard) the morning of March 16, 2020. At about 6:50 a.m., near Humboldt Avenue North and Meadowwood Drive in Brooklyn Park, Rynders hit 45-year-old Devon Doherty, according to the charges.

Rynders, the charges allege, pulled over and got out of the bus to take a look, while at the same time another driver behind him had stopped and told Rynders to call 911. But he instead got back into the school bus and left, about 30 minutes later dropping students off at school.

Rynders told investigators he heard a noise and got out to investigate, but didn't believe he'd hit anyone. Security cameras show the bus appear to "shudder or hit something" right before Rynders exits the vehicle to investigate.

Doherty was pronounced dead at the scene, with authorities saying she was struck by the front of the school, then the front axle and potentially also rear tires, according to the charges.

The fatal crash occurred at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Doherty's family did not have a memorial service due to worries about the virus.

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