Driver charged with hitting Flathead girl getting off of school bus appears in court

Posted at 11:14 AM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 13:14:07-04

KALISPELL — Patricia Berliner, the driver charged with with severely injuring a child as she was getting off a school bus near Whitefish, appeared in court earlier this week.

Berliner, whose vehicle hit 6-year old Jordana Hubble on November 12, 2019, made her initial appearance in Flathead County Justice Court on Monday. She has been charged with one count of felony criminal endangerment.

Court documents state that “the defendant knowingly engaged in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to others, namely Jordana Hubble."

The Montana Highway Patrol previously told MTN News the driver - now identified as Berliner - failed to stop for the bus when it had its flashing lights and stop sign up on US Highway 93 North near mile marker 137. According to witness statements, Berliner said she did not think she had to stop since the bus was in the other lane.

Jordana was taken to Nexus Children's Hospital in Houston in January to continue her recovery from the injuries she sustained in the incident. Family members say that Jordana made significant progress within several days of being admitted to the "coma emergence program."

MTN News was told a few days later that Jordana is now considered to be in a 'minimally conscious' state. Rather than being in a continuous coma, she now suffers from what her doctor called a Disorder of Consciousness, which is a product of her Diffusal Axonal Brain Injury. She was also smiling and laughing, and at times appeared to recognize family members. The family says they're optimistic about her treatment at this facility.

Berliner, who was released on her own recognizance, is expected to make her next court appearance on April 30 in Flathead County District Court.