- Former Wisconsin school bus driver charged in sexual assault case.
- Former New Hampshire school bus driver pleads guilty to stalking child.
- Former driver pleads guilty after slamming brakes on Colorado school bus.
- Ohio man accused of stealing school bus, leading authorities on chase.
- Juvenile accused of making threats about active shooter on North Carolina school bus.
Former Wisconsin School Bus Driver Charged in Sexual Assault Case
Police in Waukesha, Wisconsin, say the "strength" of a victim speaking out after years of alleged abuse by a school bus driver helped them break their case against the driver. Police Lt. Scott Christensen told TMJ4 that 54-year-old Michael Meyer was arrested on multiple felony charges, including sexual assault against a child. According to the criminal complaint, the abuse began in 2020 and continued until this year.
Meyer was the girl's school bus driver, and the two got along so well that her parents asked Meyer to be her respite caregiver, the complaint stated. The victim, now 16, has autism. A respite caregiver is someone who helps families take a break now and then while caring for youth and adults with disabilities.
According to investigators, Meyer would drive the girl to school, spend time with her and his own family, and spend time alone with her.
Investigators said the victim's parents first went to police in 2021 with concerns about text messages and behavior. Investigators found nearly 1,300 texts between the two over a three-month period. However, a search warrant did not give police enough evidence to make an arrest.
In June 2023, the victim spoke out against Meyer, leading to his July arrest. He is being held on a $1 million bail. He returns to court on August 16 for a preliminary hearing. If convicted of all charges, Meyer faces a maximum of life in prison and a $400,000 fine.
Meyer reportedly assaulted the girl "too many times to count," including at a local First Student bus facility, at a hotel, and at a swimming pool.
First Student released a statement to School Bus Fleet saying, "We take our responsibility to provide a safe environment on our school buses very seriously. The reported interactions the driver had with the student were unacceptable. First Student does not tolerate this sort of behavior. We have terminated the driver. Given this is an active investigation, we are unable to comment further."
Fox6 reported that on July 14, Waukesha Police said another potential victim came forward after seeing initial reports about Meyer's arrest. Authorities believe there could be other victims and are urging those with information about the case to come forward.
Former New Hampshire School Bus Driver Pleads Guilty to Stalking Child
A former school bus driver who was employed by First Student confessed to stalking one of the students on his route. Seacostonline reported that in June 2023, Michael Chick pleaded guilty to a felony federal charge of cyberstalking. The plea came after Chick, his attorney, and the prosecution agreed to a plea deal in late May.
In August 2022, School Bus Fleet reported that Chick, a resident of Eliot, Maine, was arrested in connection to the case.
The 39-year-old as assigned to bus routes serving the Greenland Central School, an elementary school. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Hampshire announced Chick faced a federal charge of interstate stalking and was accused of threatening an 8-year-old boy and his family, traveling from Maine to New Hampshire to make those threats.
According to an affidavit, Chick gave the child several TracFones and directed him to take inappropriate photographs of himself. The former bus driver also reportedly planted tracking devices on the child’s parents’ vehicles and traveled to their home at night to walk around the property.
Though Chick was reassigned bus routes, he reportedly continued to stay in contact with the child, inviting him onto the bus.
Court records noted that forensic examinations of Chick’s cell phone showed he had images and videos of the child and his family at retail stores, theme parks, sporting events, and on the school bus.
Investigators said Chick also threatened the minor on the bus, allegedly telling him a false story about a group of hundreds of criminals who would kidnap and torture the boy and hurt his family if he didn’t comply with instructions to take inappropriate photographs and videos of himself.
Chick is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court September 25.
Former Driver Pleads Guilty After Slamming Brakes on Colorado School Bus
A former Douglas County, Colorado, school bus driver pleaded guilty to one count of reckless endangerment after he slammed on the brakes in a school bus full of kids to "teach them a lesson."
Authorities said at least 30 elementary school students on the bus hit the seats in front of them from the impact when the March 2023 incident happened.
According to a report obtained by KRDO, the bus driver, 61-year-old Brian Fitzgerald, told officials with the Douglas County School District that he was sorry for his actions. Fitzgerald, who was a substitute driver, claimed in a letter to the school district that he was trying to "educate" and "control" the students, who ranged in age from kindergarten to sixth grade.
Court records showed that on July 24, Fitzgerald pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment, a Class 2 misdemeanor, and received a deferred sentence. If he meets certain conditions over the next year and completes 48 hours of community service, the case against him will be dismissed.
Fitzgerald initially faced 30 misdemeanor counts of child abuse, but those were dismissed as part of the plea agreement, according to KUSA.
Ohio Man Accused of Stealing School Bus, Leading Authorities on Chase
A man accused of stealing a local school bus and leading police across state lines was captured on camera. WKRC reported that according to court documents, 32-year-old Chad Murdock stole the empty bus in Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 30.
He was located by Indiana State Police, who said they pursued him as he drove through Dearborn, Decatur, and Shelby Counties.
Murdock reportedly went off the road several times during the chase and into multiple fields and yards. Police were abl0e to deflate the tires on the bus and box it in after a little over an hour, while Murdock was driving through a field. He was arrested on multiple charges, including vehicle theft and resisting police.
Police said no one was injured, but multiple police vehicles and property were damaged.
Murdock is set to have a trial on August 28.
Juvenile Accused of Making Threats About Active Shooter on North Carolina School Bus
Authorities in Alamance County, North Carolina, located a juvenile accused of making threats about an active shooter on a school bus.
According to the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, someone called 911 in January saying shots had been fired on a school bus. WXII reported that all school buses were stopped and checked but no threat was found.
Then in early June, dispatchers received a text to 911. The dispatchers recognized the number as the same one used to make the phone call in January. Deputies tracked it to a juvenile, who admitted to texting 911 and making that January call while riding the school bus.
The juvenile, who was not named, was charged with making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property.