Saudi National Who Stole New Jersey School Bus Had Threatening Journals, Authorities Say
A 22-year-old Saudi national charged with stealing a Livingston, New Jersey, school bus and driving it to Pennsylvania on Jan. 17 before abandoning it left behind journals with troubling content, authorities said. The investigation into Bader Alzahrani actually began two days before the bus was stolen, NJ.com reported, when he reportedly used a fire extinguisher to break into an unoccupied home, across the street from the school district's bus parking lot. When police searched the home, they found a backpack containing Alzahrani's passport and a journal with entries in Arab and English. The journal contained writings about jihad and threats against Jews and police officers, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.
While authorities were investigating that, a school bus was reported stolen from the nearby lot. It was located in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, after Alzahrani was found in a nearby town with the keys to the bus. Alzahrani was arrested and charged with one count of receipt of a stolen vehicle and one count of transportation of a stolen vehicle. He also faces state charges of motor vehicle theft, burglary, theft of moveable property, criminal damage, and criminal trespass. Each count is punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The fire extinguisher found in the house was similar to ones kept on school buses.
NJ.com reported that Alzahrani is on the U.S. on a student visa, but left the university where he was enrolled in October 2022 and was reported missing. The university was not named.
Georgia Student Run Over by School Bus
A child in Decatur, Georgia, was injured after being run over by a school bus on Feb. 1. Authorities told WSB-TV that the student was late and trying to catch the school bus before it left the child's stop. The student was running in the street when he slipped and fell. Police said the bus driver did not see the boy and ran over his leg. 11 Alive Atlanta reported that the accident happened at about 7 a.m. and the bus had about 10 students onboard at the time of the accident.
The driver stayed on scene until medical officials were able to transport the boy to the hospital, authorities said. The child is a student at Bob Mathis Elementary School. District officials applauded law enforcement for assisting.
3rd Grade Student Brutally Beaten on Florida School Bus
A student was given a civil citation after cellphone video showed another student being beaten on a school bus in Miami-Dade county. The incident happened on Feb. 1. The bus was transporting students from Coconut Palm K-8 Academy in Homestead, according to NBC 6 South Florida. The footage, posted to social media, showed a group of students arguing before an older boy began beating a 9-year-old girl. A second student is then seen joining in the attack.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials released a statement saying police issued one of the students a civil citation, which is a written arrest. The statement went on to say that those involved will be disciplined according to the district's Code of Student Conduct.
The student's mother told Local 10 News that she also is pressing charges against the children involved. She said the bus is overfilled, with only a school bus driver and a bus aide sitting in the front to maintain control on the bus. Miami-Dade County Public Schools reported that the incident is under review to determine whether the employee who was near the students will face disciplinary action. A representative for a local union said the driver and aide did not violate the school board's safety policy.
Front of North Carolina School Bus Crushed in Crash
A Cherryville, North Carolina, school bus driver was pinned inside the bus after appearing to veer off the side of a road and crash into a ditch. Hugh's Pond Volunteer Fire Department reported that the crash happened at about 7 a.m. on Feb. 1. Five students were onboard the bus at the time of the crash and were uninjured. Emergency crews were able to rescue the driver, who had minor injuries.
The fire department posted photos of the bus, which had its entire front bumper crushed, with the door unable to be used.
WCNC reported that the bus carried students for Gaston County Schools.
School Bus Driver Charged with DWI After Crashing into New Jersey Home
Police say a 37-year-old school bus driver is accused of driving drunk at the time he crashed into a home. Anthony Stuckey slammed into a home in West Caldwell, New Jersey, at around 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 27. Authorities said Stuckey had just dropped off students at Essex County Technical School when the crash happened. He was alone in the school bus when it crashed, WAFB reported. The homeowner, a teacher, was not home at the time of the crash.
Police pulled Stuckey out of the wreckage, and he was treated for minor injuries on scene. Authorities said it appeared the driver failed to manage a tight turn. They are investigating to see whether there was another possible cause for the crash.
Stuckey faces charges of driving while intoxicated, and 15 counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Authorities said Stuckey did not have a proper commercial driver's license to operate the school bus.
Alabama School Bus Crashes, Catches Fire
A Walker County, Alabama, school bus was involved in an accident on Jan. 31. A photo taken by a resident showed the front of the bus engulfed in flames, as well as another car that appeared to be involved in the crash. The school district superintendent shared a statement on the district's Facebook page, saying that because the students onboard were properly trained through bus evacuation drills, they and the school bus driver were able to escape through the rear emergency exit uninjured after the crash.
The superintendent did not share further information about the crash, but said the district is assessing the situation.