Judge grants defense motion in Cottonwood bus crashby Tim Post, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A judge will allow defense attorneys for Olga Franco, the woman accused of causing a fatal bus crash, to argue that her boyfriend was driving at the time of the accident.
District Judge David Peterson has essentially given Franco's attorneys the go-ahead to argue that she wasn't driving a van that crashed into a school bus near Cottonwood, Minn., earlier this year.
Defense attorneys have said they don't want to face a barrage of objections over that defense in front of jurors. The crash killed four school-aged children.
Franco's attorney Manuel Guerrero argues that his client's boyfriend, Francisco Mendoza, was driving at the time and fled the scene after the crash.
Guerrero says witnesses claim they saw Mendoza leave the scene. The judge has also ruled that Franco's attorneys can argue that flight is evidence of guilt.
Francisco Mendoza, a Mexican national, has not been found. Olga Franco, a native of Guatemala, was in the country illegally at the time of the crash. Her trial is scheduled to start on July 28 in Willmar.