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Prosecutors drop charge against Hawley school bus driver

HAWLEY, Minn. - The Clay County Attorney's Office plans to dismiss a charge it filed in February against David Duane Kronbeck, a Hawley school bus driver who was accused of violating a statute that requires school buses to stop at railroad crossings.

Assistant Clay County Attorney Matthew Greenley said he came to the decision after discussions with Kronbeck and railroad employees.

Greenley said Kronbeck said he followed the law Jan. 18 when he stopped his bus carrying children at a rural railroad crossing.

Kronbeck told Greenley he looked both ways before proceeding, but crossing arms and lights activated just as he reached the tracks.

Rather than back up, Kronbeck drove on, Greenley said.

The crossing arms at the intersection are activated when trains are a quarter of a mile to half a mile away and Kronbeck did not see the train, Greenley said, adding he is satisfied Kronbeck is not guilty of the charge.

"I think that's what the jury would believe," Greenley added.

According to court documents, a Hawley School District official told the Clay County Sheriff's Department earlier this year that Kronbeck was placed on leave pending the conclusion of the court matter.

Messages left at Kronbeck's home phone number and with the office of Hawley Superintendent Phil Jensen have not been returned.