5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has uncovered information on the driver of the van that hit the school bus.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has learned through state license records and state staff that the driver of the van does not have a valid driver's license.
Alianiss Morales, of Minneota, was convicted of driving without a license two years ago, according to police and Chippewa County Court administration staff.
Morales was pulled over, according to the clerk of court's office, after a report of an an erratic driver. The officer found she was driving in Motevideo without a license.
The Minnesota State Patrol will be working with the National Transportation Safety Board to try and determine a cause for the crash. Investigators have been at the scene Wednesday and they plan to inspect all the vehicles involved and conduct interviews with students who were on the bus.
Morales, 23, remains at the hospital.
Two brothers and the daughter of a teacher were among four children killed in Minnesota's worst school bus crash in at least two decades.
The fourth victim was the son of a former teacher at Lakeview School, the small southwestern Minnesota school wracked by the crash.
Top left: 13-year-old Jesse Javens and brother 9-year-old Hunter Javens of Cottonwood.Bottom left: 9-year-old Emilee Olson of Cottonwood and 12-year-old Reed Stevens of Marshall
The Minnesota State Patrol identified the victims as Jesse Javens, 13, and Hunter Javens, 9, both of Cottonwood; Reed Stevens, 12, of Marshall; and Emilee Olson, 9, of Cottonwood.
They were among 28 students on a Lakeview bus that was hit by a van as it carried students home from school Tuesday afternoon. At least 14 other people were hurt, including the drivers of the van and a pickup truck the bus rolled onto.
Rylee Klocow, a third-grader at the school, and her mother Heidi were among hundreds who streamed into Lakeview School on Wednesday to meet with grief counselors and hear an update on the crash. Emilee was a classmate of Rylee's.
"She was a really good friend and I'll always remember her in my heart," Rylee said.
"It's terrible for the families," Rylee's mother, Heidi Klocow, said. "We knew a lot of people on that bus."
The patrol was reconstructing the crash to determine exactly how it happened. The van was heading east on County Road 24, which has a stop sign as it ends in a T intersection with state Highway 23, the road the bus was traveling. The van struck the bus, which rolled over onto the truck.
The van was driven by Morales. The pickup was driven by James M. Hancock, 45, of Marshall. The bus was driven by Dennis Devereaux, 52, of Cottonwood.
Four of the injured were in fair condition Wednesday at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center. Five others, one of them an adult, were in fair condition at Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls, S.D., spokesman Kenyon Gleason said.
One person was in stable condition at Sandford Hospital in Sioux Falls, Holland said.
Lakeview has about 585 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, serving Cottonwood and the nearby town of Wood Lake. The area is about 140 miles west of Minneapolis.
Emilee's mother, Traci, is a physical education teacher at the school. Reed's mother, Kandy, is a former teacher.
At a news conference, Superintendent Sheldon Johnson said Kandy Stevens had asked him to read a statement.
"She wants people to know that Reed was a young man who loved God, his country and his family. And he also loved his football family. We know that he is with the Lord, and we ask all parents to give their kids an extra hug tonight and every night."
Members of the media weren't allowed into the school Wednesday. Parents and students who went described a moving scene, as "Amazing Grace" was sung and teenagers spontaneously gathered in a circle to pray.
Mary Taylor, who attended the meeting with her 17-year-old son Miles, said she was struck by "the utter silence" when she first entered the building.
"No one knows what to do or say," she said.
Taylor said she knows all of the victims' families. "They're very nice people, salt of the earth, decent religious people."
Another parent, Brenda Doom, said the accident was simply unbelievable.
"You see it on the TV in other places, then all of a sudden you look at the TV and it's us."
Johnson said the school planned to resume classes on Thursday, and an ecumenical service was planned there for 7 p.m.
"We want to get back into a routine," he said.
The Cottonwood crash was the deadliest since at least 1985, said Nathan Bowie, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety. The department didn't immediately have any earlier data.
The Minnesota Senate observed a moment of silence in St. Paul for the families in Cottonwood on Wednesday afternoon.
"If there's one place in our society we want to be safe, it's our schools. We absolutely want the transportation of our children to and from the schools to be safe. And sadly, 23 hours ago, that safety was shattered," said Sen. Dennis Frederickson, R-New Ulm.
Memorial Fund For Crash Victims
The Lakeview School Memorial Fund has been set up for the families of the victims of the bus crash. Donations can be sent to:
United Southwest Bank
c/o Lakeview School Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 288
Cottonwood, MN 56229-0288
Authorities have confirmed that the the driver of the van that struck the school bus that killed 4 students on Tuesday is an illegal alien.
Officials at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement are checking to see where she came from and how long she’s been in Minnesota. FOX 9 has also learned that the name she gave to police, Alainiss Morales, is an alias.
23-year-old Alainiss N. Morales was taken into custody on suspicion of criminal vehicular operation. She was arrested by the State Patrol Thursday afternoon and is being held in Lyon County Jail. County Attorney Rick Maes told the Marshall Independent charges could come later Thursday or Friday…The van was driven by Alianiss N. Morales, 23, of Minneota. The Fox 9 Investigator found Morales pleaded guilty in Chippewa County in 2006 to driving without a valid license.
State Patrol officials said Thursday they were not immediately able to confirm if Morales was unlicensed, nor could they confirm whether Morales ran a stop sign. Lt. Mark Peterson said that was still under investigation, but that the investigation was “moving forward very quickly.”
The school bus was carrying 28 students. Cottonwood Fire Chief Dale Louluagie confirmed that 3 fatalities of the crash died immediately upon impact and the fourth victim died around 8 p.m. Tuesday night.