Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012
COLUMBIA CTY., Ga. -- Columbia County Sheriff's deputies are investigating allegations that a school bus driver drove irrationally while making death threats to the students onboard his bus.
Gina Taylor says her 7-year-old daughter is now terrified to ride the bus to Euchee Creek Elementary after the incident Thursday.
"She was terrified, she was shaking, she was crying, her little eyes were just as puffy as could be," she said.
Taylor says her daughter's bus never dropped her off Thursday. After several calls to the school, she says someone on the phone told her she needed to come pick up her daughter.
Taylor says her daughter was visibly shaken when she saw her.
"She told me [the school bus driver] started yelling at them, said he was going to kill them, then said he was going to drive the bus into a ditch, which he did," she said. "She said, 'Mommy don't make me get back on the bus, I'm scared.'"
Other parents also contacted News 12 with the same story. One parent told On Your Side that the bus driver stopped the bus on the side of a ditch, got out and tried to push the bus over with the children inside of it while yelling that he was going to kill them.
School officials would not do an on-camera interview with News 12 but said over the phone that the driver was dealing with some rowdy children so he pulled over the bus to let the children calm down. They confirmed the driver is a substitute but would not comment on whether he is still working for the school system. Officials say they are looking into the incident.
"I was furious, I mean I was mad," Taylor said.
She is especially angry that school officials never called her or the other parents.
On Your Side asked school officials why they failed to contact parents.
"It is difficult to identify that large amount of parents," they responded.
They said they are implementing a new system that will help them identify parents of students on buses.
Columbia County School officials say they do background checks on all bus drivers, even substitutes. They say all the drivers must also submit to drug tests.