BLAINE, Minn. - A school bus driver from Blaine faces several charges in connection with a trip last February in which she allegedly used her cell phone to search for 'your mama' jokes while behind the wheel.
Brenda Carsten, 39, faces child endangerment, reckless and careless driving, and a number of traffic offenses tied to the complaint which occurred at 4:35 p.m. on February 6, 2018.
Charges state a child's parent contacted Lorenz Bus Service Inc. regarding one of its drivers. The company then contacted the Minnesota State Patrol. Investigators reviewed onboard video and audio footage of the incident.
According to the complaint, the video begins with Carsten pulling the bus out of the Westwood Middle School parking lot. The complaint states Carsten was not wearing a seatbelt.
Footage shows students in the back seats of the bus laying across seats and moving around while the bus is in motion. It also shows Carsten reaching for her cell phone and manipulating the screen while continuing to drive using her right hand, looking at the phone screen, "with brief moments of looking at the road," the complaint states.
Carsten then allegedly begins talking to the students about her personal life. The bus is seen traveling over the painted lines while Carsten can be seen texting, sometimes with both hands. She then lets the students use the public announcement system to read her text messages aloud to the entire bus.
The video shows students begin to tell 'your mama' jokes. The driver then uses her phone to look up similar jokes, tell them, and then explain them to the students. Charges state Carsten continues to drive erratically and not look at the road while texting.
Carsten faces 15 charges in all and was ordered by summons to appear in court on June 6.