SBF Incident Report Roundup: Aug. 25, 2022

Image: Canva

School Bus Driver Faces Stalking Charge Against Student on His Route

A school bus driver who worked in Greenland, N.H., is accused of stalking an 8-year-old boy that was on his route and threatening him and his family, according to the U.S. Attorney's office for the District of New Hampshire. Michael Chick, 39, was arrested Aug. 5 in his hometown of Eliot, Maine. Chick was employed as a school bus driver for First Student and was assigned to bus routes serving the Greenland Central School, an elementary school. Chick faces a federal charge of interstate stalking and is accused of threatening the boy and his family, traveling from Maine to New Hampshire to make those threats, according to U.S. Attorney Jane Young.

WCVB reports that court documents stated that the boy's parents initially complained to Greenland police in April that Chick had been giving their son unwarranted attention, like providing him with candy, toys, and get-well cards. The documents also said that, at one point, the boy told his parents that he had a conversation with Chick in which the bus driver shared with him where he hid a spare key for his house and that the boy's sister shared where they kept their spare key. The boy's parents alerted Greenland police and the school resource officer in May after Chick invited himself to the boy's baseball game. A Greenland police officer and the school resource officer spoke with Chick about the matter and informed him that he was to have no more contact with the boy or his family.

Then in July, one of the boy's parents discovered two Tracfone prepaid phones in a lunchbox that was in a closet. The boy revealed that Chick had given him the phones. The parents turned over the phones to the police and installed surveillance camera around their home. Later that month, investigators reviewed surveillance footage from First Student buses and found a video that captured partial conversations between the boy and Chick from May to June. According to the court documents, the conversations pertained to the prepaid phones, instructions on how to use them and hide them, and what to say if the phones were discovered.

A search warrant on Chick's car and home revealed items like multiple TracFone prepaid phone; a digital camera; duct tape; rubber gloves; "sweet (candy) liquor;" candy; children's clothing, including underwear; children's toys; a magnetic GPS vehicle tracker; several surveillance cameras, including two "button" cameras; tracking devices; and a large Ziplock bag of children's underwear, and troubling handwritten notes with inapprorpriate messages and requests, as well as threats to the boy's family.

Chick admitted to giving the boy multiple TracPhones, placing GPS trackers on the boy's parents' vehicles, and walking around the boy's house up to 10 times during the night. 

According to WCVB, First Student Transportation criticized Chick's actions and said he is no longer employed by the company.

Parent Arrested After Pepper Spray Incident on Georgia School Bus

A Glynn County, Ga., parent was arrested for discharging a can of pepper spray into a school bus, according to WJCL. The Glynn County School System reported that it happened Aug. 16 when the bus was picking up students for school and a parent confronted the school bus driver and school monitor. When two adults attempted to remove the suspect, a parent named Shaquayle Cuyler, from the bus, she reportedly sprayed the can of pepper spray. Cuyler was arrested and charged with battery, cruelty to children, criminal trespass, intentional disruption of a school bus, and reckless conduct. The bus driver, monitor, and 24 students were exposed to the fumes. Authorities said the students were examined and medically cleared by EMTs at the scene. The bus driver and bus monitor were taken to Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital for further treatment, the Brunswick News reported.

Six Students Injured in Fiery School Bus Crash in Georgia

Six students were taken to the hospital after a fiery, head-on crash in an Atlanta suburb. Douglas County Schools officials said a man driving a Ford Windstar van appeared to lose control coming around a curve near a subdivision, crashing head-on into a school bus and sparking a fire, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. School police said Albert Rivenburgh, a former firefighter who lives nearby, jumped into action to help. He was able to extinguish the fire, which had been filling the bus with smoke. He then helped the 18 Shoals Elementary School students evacuate the bus. The driver of the van died from his injuries.

One student was rushed to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, and five more were taken to the hospital by their parents. The district reported that all injuries were minor. Georgia State Patrol is investigating the crash.

School Bus Driver Faces 42 Charges After Crash

A Pickens County, Ga., school bus driver was arrested after crashing the bus he was driving while transporting students home from school on Aug. 19. Georgia State Patrol told WSB Atlanta that 59-year-old Jeffrey Tucker drove off the road and into a ditch. Forty students were on the bus when the crash happened, but none were hurt. Investigators said Tucker was drunk at the time of the crash. Pickens County Schools released a statement after the crash, saying Tucker was charged with driving under the influence (DUI), failure to maintain a lane, and 40 counts of reckless conduct. The district also announced Tucker's employment will be terminated.

On Aug. 22, a second school bus driver in Pickens County was arrested for DUI while in her personal vehicle. School Superintendent Tony Young said there were no indications that the driver was impaired while driving her bus that morning. The driver is suspended until the charges pending against her are resolved. A review of bus-related policies, procedures, and protocols is underway with staff and outside consultants.

Car Fleeing Floirida Bank Fraud Attempt Crashes into School Bus

A man fleeing a failed bank fraud attempt crashed into a school bus in Wellington, Fla., just outside West Palm Beach, on August 11, according to Boca News Now. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office reported that the man attempted to make a fraudulent withdrawal at a local bank under a fictitious name. Bank personnel became suspicious and called 911. Investigators reported that the man walked out of the bank to a waiting gold BMW. The vehicle sped away from the area, crashing into the back of a school bus with five students inside shortly after. Authorities said no students required transport to the hospital, but several occupants of the BMW were critically injured. The person in the vehicle who investigators said attempted the fraudulent withdrawal was charged with criminal use of personal identification, grand theft, forgery of a credit card, and four counts of unauthorized possession of a driver's license.