ROBBINSDALE, Minn. - A Columbia Heights man is facing seven criminal charges after authorities say he fled a police officer and rear-ended a school bus, injuring five students.
Twenty-eight-year-old Argeni Fernandez is charged with one felony count of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, one count of DWI, and five counts of causing bodily harm by operating a vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.
According to the criminal complaint, at about 7:25 a.m. on Monday, Robbinsdale Police found Fernandez trying to drive his SUV out of a ditch at Highway 100 and 36th Avenue North. Fernandez drove out of the ditch and headed north on 100, and the squad followed with its siren on.
Prosecutors say Fernandez eventually stopped and when the officer approached he smelled alcohol. The complaint states that Fernandez refused to put his SUV in park, and sped off again.
More officers responded to the chase, and according to the complaint, Fernandez lost control, hit another car, went over the lane dividers on Highway 100 and ended up headed southbound on County Road 81. That's when authorities say he turned onto 42nd Avenue North and rear-ended a school bus.
Five of the 22 passengers were brought to the hospital to be treated for non-incapacitating injuries. All the injured parties were students.
Fernandez is in custody with bail set at $40,000.