Immigrant Driver Gets 12.5 Years in Fatal Bus Crash

A judge on Wednesday ordered a 12 1/2-year prison sentence for the woman convicted of four counts of criminal vehicular homicide in a school bus crash near Cottonwood.

In sentencing Olga Marina Franco Del Cid, Lyon County District Judge David Peterson said the families of the Lakeview School children who were injured or killed in the Feb. 19 crash will continue to struggle.

Click here for photos.

"Franco's sentence will end. For those parents dealing with injuries, it's a daily struggle. For the parents dealing with lost children, it's a lifetime of could-have-beens and might-have-beens that never will be," Peterson said.

The families of the four children who were killed — Jesse Javens, 13; his brother, Hunter Javens, 9; Emilee Olson, 9; and Reed Stevens, 12 — all spoke during the hearing, which lasted more than two hours. The judge also heard from a family whose children were among the 14 people injured.

Through an interpreter, Franco also made a statement, asking for forgiveness for using someone else's identity. She also asked for forgiveness for the crash, but still denied being the driver. Franco said that she's going through some of the same feelings as the victim's families, because she isn't able to be with her family.

Franco's defense had tried to argue that her boyfriend was driving the van, and that he fled after the crash. He has not been seen since.

But prosecutors argued during her trial that Franco had to be extricated from the driver's seat of the minivan, which hit the school bus after barreling through a stop sign.

In August, a jury convicted Franco of all 24 counts against her.

Franco still has the right to appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Click here for more on this story from