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Published June 21 2008

Moorhead bus company says driver in fatal crash was rested

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Moorhead charter bus company is disputing a report by Minnesota authorities that says one of its drivers was tired when he crashed his bus in Albertville.

A 16-year-old student from Pelican Rapids High School was killed in the April 5 crash, and the driver - Loren Ernst - has now been charged with criminal vehicular homicide and two other felonies.

But Richards Transportation, which owns the bus that crashed, says Ernst was plenty rested.

The company's president, Mark Richards, says he doesn't believe Ernst fell asleep at the wheel.

An investigator who interviewed the 69-year-old driver had reported that Ernst had only gotten about three hours of sleep in the 24 hours before the crash.

But Richards says the interview was done when Ernst was ``emotionally a wreck' and that the investigator put words into his mouth.

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