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Woman Charged in Bus Crash in US Illegally

The Star Tribune reported the woman involved in the Cottonwood, Minn. bus crash that killed 4 children was charged today, and according to Federal authorities is living in the US illegally under an alias.

The woman, who is using the name Alianiss Nunez Morales, ran a stop sign outside the southern town Tuesday when her van hit the bus, which then fell onto a pickup truck said Lyon County Attorney Richard Maes.

Morales is charged with four counts of criminal-vehicular homicide, running a stop sign and driving without a license at the time of the crash.

Maes told the judge that ICE officials had located an Alianiss Nunez Morales in Puerto Rico but the woman's family said the woman involved in the accident was not their relative, which made the agency concerned about the jailed woman's identity.

Maes asked the judge to hold the woman without bail, citing her questionable identity, but since none of the charges involve allegations of using false identification Morales bail was set at $400,000 without conditions or $200,000 with an assortment of conditions. The defendant's attorney, Manuel P. Guerrero, of St. Paul, protested that the bail set was the same as denying her bail due to her financial situation.

Morales next court appearance is set for April 21.

An injured Morales appeared in District Court this morning and through an interpreter told the court that her name is Alianiss Morales, that she has been working in a Cottonwood cabinet shop for about a month and was living with her boyfriend in a Minneota, Minn., trailer.

"She's grief-stricken about the accident," Guerrero said of Morales. "She's hurting about what happened to the kids."

Lakeview School, where the students attended, will be closed Monday for the funerals of brothers Jesse Javens, 13, and Hunter Javens, 9, both of Cottonwood. Also killed were Reed Stevens, 12, of Marshall; and Emilee Olson, 9, of Cottonwood.

There were 28 students on the bus. In addition to Hancock, eight children remained hospitalized Thursday in Sioux Falls, S.D., Marshall and Rochester.