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Forum staff reports, Published February 25 2009

Charges stand against bus driver in crash that killed Pelican Rapids student Jessica Weishair

A judge has denied a Moorhead man’s request to dismiss charges against him related to the death of Pelican Rapids (Minn.) High School student Jessica Weishair, 16.

Loren Ernst, 70, challenged whether prosecutors had adequate foundation to charge him. He faces charges in Wright County (Minn.) District Court of criminal vehicular homicide, criminal vehicular injury and criminal vehicular operation.

A judge has issued a ruling denying the defense motion, which Assistant Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes said he received Tuesday. A memo explaining the decision is expected in 14 days.

Weishair was returning home from a band trip to Chicago last April when the bus she was riding in left Interstate 94 and tipped over near Albertville, Minn.

According to the charges:

Ernst, the driver of the bus, failed to negotiate a turn and left the road going about 70 mph. He tried to get back on the road but struck an entrance ramp, rolling the bus and sending it skidding on its right side.

The next court date in the case has not yet been set.