Bus driver reaches deal
A former school bus driver charged with slapping a child passenger says the support of her family, friends, church, former co-workers and the public helped her through the ordeal.
Jane Brooks, 72, of Blue Earth and prosecutors for the state have reached an agreement.
In a written statement, Brooks says she’s thankful for all the cards and friendly messages offered to her the past few months.
“Their support and my faith in God have helped me through everything I have been through recently,” she says.
“I would also like to offer my continuous prayers for everyone involved,” she adds.
In court papers filed in Faribault County District Court, a charge of fifth-degree assault will be dismissed if Brooks has no assault-related or disorderly conduct-related violations for one year.
“It was an appropriate resolution. I believe she’s remorseful,” says County Attorney Troy Timmerman.
“I tried to fit the facts with what happened and the individual involved. She’s never been in court before and I don’t think she will be again,” he adds. For the misdemeanor charge, Brooks faced a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Under the agreement, Brooks did not enter a plea and the state may reinstate criminal action if conditions are not met.
“She didn’t get a break. And, she lost her job, that’s pretty significant these days,” Timmerman says.
The county attorney says deciding whether to charge Brooks was a difficult decision, but did so because she was a person in authority who truck a child.
Under state statute, there are 10 circumstances when reasonable force may be used upon or toward a person without their consent.
One instance is a school employee or school bus driver, in the exercise of lawful authority, to restrain a child or pupil, or to prevent bodily harm or death to another.
Brooks never made an appearance in court.
When she hired Fairmont attorney Paul Edman, her first hearing was continued.
Timmerman says he and Edman shortly after that began negotiating a deal.
He says Brooks did not receive any special treatment.
“If she would have entered a plea, she would have had to appear. I wasn’t trying to treat her any different than anyone else in similar circumstances,” he says.