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Armed bus driver allegation exaggerated
Nov 01, 2012 4:30 pm
MT. JULIET - Nearly 50 Mt. Juliet Middle School students had a scary bus ride home Wednesday afternoon, and afterward the official statement from police was "reports of armed bus driver were found to be false."
Reports from Mt. Juliet Police Department Community Policing Director Tyler Chandler indicate the bus ride home for students who mostly live in the Silverstone Subdivision in Hickory Hills was far from routine.
Chandler said around 3:30 p.m., officers responded to a 911 call of "an armed bus driver on a Wilson County school bus."
Upon arriving at the scene, Chandler said officers saw students in a nearby field "who were upset and scared."
Police found the bus driver, and the "scene was rapidly cleared by officers to ensure all children were safe," Chandler said.
Chandler said the investigation revealedthe 60-year-old substitute driver missed a stop for a student. He said "multiple" students became "belligerent...loud...and unruly."
According to the report, the bus driver pulled over in an attempt to get some students to "stop screaming." A parent came to where the bus was parked, and a 14-year-old boy attempted to exit the bus.
Chandler said when the student tried to get back on the bus to get his backpack, "it was alleged that the student had his forearm shut in the bus door."
According to police reports, the parent and bus driver then argued, during which an "unknown person mentioned that the bus driver was armed."
Police reports said the allegation frightened the students, and they fled from the bus to a nearby field. The parent then called 911, and officers arrived at the scene.
Chandler said Wilson County school officials responded and maintained communication with officers during the incident. He said another bus and driver were dispatched to the scene and took the students to their homes. He said parents who arrived at the scene "were also very cooperative."
Police investigators reviewed the surveillance camera video from the bus and determined "the bus driver did not do anything unlawful." Chandler said there could be charges of "unruliness" for certain students on the bus.
"It appears this situation was extremely blown out of proportion by a few students, which caused the other students to be frightened," Chandler said.
Mt. Juliet News managing editor Laurie Everett can be reached at 615-754-6397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.