14-year-old allegedly steals bus, crashes it into gas station fuel pump

Police have arrested the alleged driver of a stolen school bus that crashed into a fuel pump at a gas station on Dale Street in Roseville.

Roseville Police have arrested a 14-year-old boy after he allegedly stole a school bus and crashed it into a fuel pump at  the Shell gas station located at 2154 Dale Street.

According to police, the incident occurred just before 8 a.m. Monday. Police were called to the gas station after the bus had crashed, and were met by a Centerline Bus Company operations manager who had detained the suspected driver.

Officers learned the $45,000 Centerline bus had been stolen when it was parked near the Holiday gas station at Rice Street and Wheelock Parkway in St. Paul. An employee had parked the bus there while she took her morning break.

The 14-year-old suspect told police he'd seen the "abandoned" bus and admitted he took it with the intent of returning it to the bus company, according to police. He said he drove the bus to the Centerline Bus Company lot at 1870 Rice Street but got scared and drove away after hearing on the bus radio that police were being called. The boy said he continued west on County Road B2 and south on Dale Street, then into the gas station parking lot where he side-swiped the station's fuel pump island. 

The bus company operations manager who detained the youth corroborated part of the youth's story, but said he'd observed the stolen bus enter the bus terminal while speaking with the employee who'd reported the bus stolen. The operations manager said he then followed the bus and pulled up next to it at a red light and told the suspect to stop. The operations manager said the driver ignored his request and accelerated through the red light. The operations manager then followed the bus to the gas station where it crashed and was able to detain the suspected driver after the bus became disabled.

Police took the 14-year-old into custody without incident. He was taken to the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center in St. Paul, and is expected to be charged with felony auto theft, according to police. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years confinement and a $10,000 fine.

The Roseville and St. Paul police departments, along with the Minnesota State Patrol Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspector, are investigating the case.

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