Maggie Zimmerman says she replays what happened on February 28th over and over in her mind.
Maggie Zimmerman says, “As a chaperone, I felt guilty. Like, why didn’t I walk up and down the bus as soon as I got on it?”
She was a chaperone for the daughter’s kindergarten class field trip to the Walker Art Center.
After a day of fun, it was time to get on the bus and return to Saint Paul.
Zimmerman says, “Pulled up, we loaded all the kids on, did a count, made sure we had everybody and started down the road.”
Zimmerman says there were two chaperones, a teacher and teacher’s aide on board.
She says a chaperone separated the 26 students on board from the rows of empty seats in the back of the bus.
Zimmerman says, “When we got onto 94, our teacher said she saw a man at the back of the bus.”
At first, no one noticed the stranger on board.
Zimmerman says, “When we looked back again he popped his head up and popped back down.”
The bus driver told the man to sit up front while she called dispatch.
Zimmerman says, “During the drive back he asked to be let off a couple of times, would she pull over and let him off and she wouldn’t.”
When the bus returned to Chelsea Heights Elementary, 61-year-old Michael Friedrichs, a registered sex offender, was arrested.
His crimes include engaging in sexual activity with two 15-year-old boys, as well as exposing himself to elementary school children on a Minneapolis school bus in 2011.
School officials told parents how they believe he got on the bus.
Zimmerman says, “The school told us the footage from the camera shows him prying open the doors at some previous location prior to getting to the Walker when the bus driver was off the bus.”
Friedrichs was released from custody and now Minneapolis police have launched an investigation into his registration violation and his conduct on the bus.
Friedrichs was released from prison in April 2018.
Authorities say he currently lives in downtown Minneapolis homeless shelters.