School bus drivers are charged with maintaining the safety and welfare of the children on board during their Maryland bus routes. In one incident on April 7, a Beltsville bus driver appears to have shirked this duty after he got out of a bus, leaving it running with children inside while he took a powder break. The unattended bus veered off of the road and down a hill before striking a 7-year-old boy who was standing at his bus stop. That victim suffered minor injury, but he was released from the hospital the same day as the accident.
Official reports show that the 61-year-old driver has been working for the school district for 13 years. That veteran driver reportedly left the bus running with four students, ages seven to 14, still inside the vehicle. None of those children suffered serious injury. The 7-year-old child was suffering some neck pain and lacerations to his head. Physicians have not indicated that the child will suffer long-term effects from head trauma. However, victims' relatives may be entitled financial compensation for medical expenses related to this type of accident.
Investigators say the man may have thought that he put the bus in a park or stop mode, but the bus still ended up rolling down the hill. Officers say that the incident could have been far worse, considering the nature of the crash. An off-duty officer was able to pull the child from beneath the bus, and the boy was taken to Children's Hospital in the District.
Now, the driver is facing charges of reckless endangerment and leaving children unattended. School policy dictates that children are never to be left alone on their buses, and drivers are directed to contact the school district or police officers for help in the event of an emergency. The boy's mother said she has many questions she wants to have answered by the school district's transportation office.
Source: DC News FOX 5, "Driver charged after runaway Prince George's Co. school bus hits student" Bob Barnard, Apr. 07, 2014