42-year old Monte Klink of Arlington was sentenced to ten years in prison.
Authorities say Klink was under the influence of methamphetamine when he hit the school bus at a gravel road intersection northeast of Manchester in October 2015. The school bus rolled once, coming to rest right-side up. Over thirty students were on board the bus at the time. Two of the children were seriously injured, with most of the others suffering minor injuries.
In November, Klink pleaded guilty to one count of Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense and two counts of Serious Injury by Vehicle. Last month, his attorney, Stuart Gordon Hoover of Dubuque, requested to withdraw Klink’s two guilty pleas for Serious Injury by Vehicle, even though Klink did not ask him to. The judge denied that request last week.
At Wednesday’s sentencing, Klink’s attorney asked Klink’s sister, Kathi Anderson of Iowa City, to give testimony. Anderson told the courtroom her brother has had a history of mental health issues and drug problems since his teenage years, but has worked with professionals on getting treatment. She testified that he has been sober since the accident, which she says “scared him pretty badly” and that he takes the charges “extremely seriously”.
The judge received impact statements from two of the victims, though no one testified at Wednesday’s sentencing. Two of the families affected by the rollover were present in the courtroom. Delaware County Attorney John Bernau says he considered showing video recorded by the school bus at the time of the collision, but decided not to.
Klink chose not to make a statement at Wednesday’s sentencing. His attorney described him as “very emotional” and wanting to take responsibility for what happened.
Judge Stephanie Rattenborg sentenced Klink to five years in prison for each of the two counts of Serious Injury by Vehicle and two years for the one count of Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense. Klink’s attorney requested the two counts of Serious Injury by Vehicle run concurrently, but Judge Rattenborg ruled that the five year sentences will run consecutively, while the two year sentence will run concurrently.
Bernau says he believes the sentence is appropriate, noting that each victim deserves justice.
Judge Rattenborg ordered the Sheriff’s Office to transport Klink to Oakdale Prison after the sentencing.