November 26, 2014

Man sentenced to 15 years in fatal school bus accident

Aaron Gunderson

A north-central Iowa man, who admitted guilt in the death of a young girl who was about to board a school bus, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Thirty-two-year-old Aaron Gunderson received his sentence in Worth County District Court this morning.

Earlier this month during a plea change hearing, he pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide by reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.

The more serious charge of vehicular homicide while intoxicated was dismissed as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

During that plea change hearing, Gunderson admitted getting off work around 7 a.m. on May 10th of last year, went home to change his clothes and then headed toward a friend’s house. Gunderson struck 7-year-old Kadyn Halverson of rural Kensett while she was walking to a school bus that had its lights flashing and stop sign extended.

Gunderson fled the scene, with Halverson dying of her injuries. Gunderson, during the plea change hearing, said he never saw the stop arm or lights on the bus and didn’t think the bus was stopped. Gunderson was sentenced to 10 years in prison on the vehicular homicide charge and 5 years on the leaving the scene charge. He could be eligible for parole in 10-and-a-half years.

Kadyn Halverson’s family has been pushing lawmakers to approve tougher school bus safety laws.

By Bob Fisher, KGLO, Mason City