Huntsville City Schools and police have confirmed an issue occurred involving a bus driver Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Pulaski Pike and Sparkman Drive.
Eyewitness Everette Young lives right across the street from where the incident happened. He told WAAY 31 he was fixing his lawn mower this afternoon when, "I heard children screamin' and then I saw a child open up the back of the bus and then jumped out and then I saw other children jumpin' out of the bus," said Young.
Fearing something was wrong, he crossed the street to make sure they were okay, "Children were saying something about that they passed their bus stop," said Youn.
He went to talk with the bus driver, but the driver was on the radio, "He wouldn't open up the door and so I went to the back and then he came to the back and closed back the emergency door," said Young.
The entire time emotions were running high, "The children were crying that they had a brother, or sister, somebody still on the bus and they wanted all the children off the bus," said Young.
Huntsville police officers responded to the scene and made contact with the driver of the school bus who said kids on board were being disruptive and distracting. The driver told officers he passed some students' bus stops, because there was too much disruption on the bus.
Police said the bus driver pulled over and notified officers that kids started jumping off the bus. A Huntsville City Schools official said staff responded to the situation to help, and another bus was dispatched to take students home.
The investigation is ongoing, and no charges are expected at this time, according to police.
Below is a statement from Keith Ward, Huntsville City Schools spokesperson:
“Huntsville City Schools is aware of an issue with an Apple Bus Driver that occurred this afternoon. HCS district staff responded to the situation to provide assistance and ensure that another bus was dispatched so that all kids could be safely transported home. HCS expects Apple Bus to provide a quick resolution to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.”
WAAY 31 reached out to Apple Bus, the company that Huntsville City Schools gets its bus drivers through, and received a statement from Shawn Woods, the director of safety.
"Student safety is our top priority. Apple Bus has a full safety program in place to protect students and requires that all employees follow these policies to their fullest as part of maintaining their employment. Claims of deviations from procedures are investigated promptly. We are investigating a possible incident on one of our buses and will take all appropriate actions after that claim has been investigated," said Woods.