I’ll be honest and say that, if my bus driver had offered to let me pilot the big yellow brick when I was a young teen, I’d have considered her or him the coolest bus driver ever. But a number of Indiana adults—including the police—apparently think differently than my teenage self, because a driver who allegedly let kids take the reins just got fired and arrested, CBS Chicago reports.
Last Thursday, a parent of a student studying at Boone Grove High School in Valparaiso, Indiana reached out to a Porter County Sheriff’s Deputy alleging that a bus driver had let students drive the kid-hauler, Porter County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jeff Biggs told Jalopnik via an emailed news release.
That tip prompted an investigation, which police say revealed that on September 20, a 27 year-old bus driver had “allowed three students [to] drive her bus as they dropped students off after school.”
“The three students took turns driving a short distance each down Lourdes Street in rural Valparaiso area. Other students on the bus witnessed the students driving,” the email reads, going on to say that the students who piloted the big rectangular banana were 11, 13, and 17-year-old.
The bus driver, the police press release continues, was “relieved of all duties involving Porter Township and the bus service provider.” She was reportedly arrested on Sept. 21 when deputies met her at the Bus Barn, where she showed up to grab her last paycheck.
“She was immediately taken into custody and is being charged with Neglect of a Dependent, Level 6 Felony,” the press release states, before concluding that this is still an ongoing investigation.
CBS includes the following clips in its story—clips that the news site says apparently show the incident in question:
Obviously, letting kids drive a bus filled with students isn’t a smart move, as the kids lack training related to traffic laws, they have no idea how such a heavy vehicle handles in various situations, and a bunch of other reasons so obvious I shouldn’t have to enumerate them.
That said, it does look like fun. When I was a kid, my dad used to let me take the wheel of our Chevy Astro van. Granted, that thing was probably at least five tons lighter than this bus, I was in an empty parking lot and not on a public road, and my dad was controlling the pedals. But it was still awesome. I could only imagine how much I’d have loved to drive my school bus—it would have been the thrill of my childhood.
And then I’d have grown up and realized just how dumb and dangerous it was.