Charges: Minnesota school bus driver was texting, looking up 'your momma' jokes
BLAINE, Minn. (KMSP) - A school bus driver in Blaine, Minnesota, is facing more than a dozen charges, accused of driving erratically and using her cell phone while transporting children.
Authorities say 39-year-old Brenda Carsten is now facing 15 separate charges out of Anoka County, all related to dangerous driving as she was behind the wheel of a school bus.
A look at the pending charges paints a terrifying picture, with Carsten allegedly swerving out of her lane, driving on the shoulder to pass, making calls and texting - all while kids were on board.
Lorenz Bus Service said they were prompted to dig into the driver's behavior after receiving a complaint.
According to the criminal complaint, on Feb. 6, 2018, Carsten was caught on on-board video not wearing a seatbelt or only wearing the lap portion of the belt. The footage also shows students laying across seats and moving around the bus.
The bus is also seen traveling over white fog lines on both sides as she continued to text on her phone, sometimes with both hands.
Carsten also talked about her personal life, using foul language with the students, and used her phone to look up "your momma" jokes. According to the complaint, she initiated a turn, but was so distracted in telling a joke that she turned into oncoming lanes of traffic. No collision occurred.
While at a bus stop, Carsten stands up - revealing she wasn't wearing a seat belt - and gives students "an inappropriate 'life lesson.'" According to the complaint, the driver also briefly allowed students to open the bus door while it was moving.
Carsten was promptly terminated after an internal investigation, and the findings were reported to the school district, the state and police.
Fourteen of the charges she's facing are misdemeanors and one is a gross misdemeanor.