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Associated Press, Published February 22 2008

Woman charged with four felonies in fatal Minnesota bus crash

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minnesota woman was charged Friday with four counts of criminal vehicular homicide and two lesser charges in a school bus crash that killed four children, authorities said.

Alianiss Nunez Morales, 23, of Minneota, was driving a van that failed to stop at a stop sign Tuesday before hitting a bus carrying 28 students from Lakeview School, the prosecutor said. The accident happened near the small town of Cottonwood, in southwestern Minnesota.

Morales was also charged with a stop sign violation and for driving without a valid license, Lyon County Attorney Richard Maes said.

Authorities also said Morales is not the woman's real name, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are trying to figure out her true identity. Claude Arnold, ICE special agent in charge of investigations, said his agency believes Morales is in the country illegally.

"The only name we have for her is the name she gave us when she was booked," Arnold said, adding that Morales told authorities she was from Mexico.

Morales does not have a Minnesota driver's license, and "she doesn't have a (driver's license) anywhere that we're aware of," said Lt. Mark Peterson of the Minnesota State Patrol.

The criminal vehicular homicide charges are felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. The other charges are misdemeanors.

Morales' was expected to make her first appearance in court Friday.

Two brothers, the daughter of a teacher at Lakeview school and the son of a former Lakeview teacher were killed in the crash.

As of Thursday, the driver of the truck and five of the injured children remained at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., and one child remained at Mayo Clinic in Rochester in fair condition.