Local News

Bus Driver Charged After Boy Dragged 100 Feet

Posted October 25, 2007

— A Lee County school bus driver has been charged with careless and reckless driving after a first-grader was dragged by the bus about 100 feet Wednesday, police said.

Six-year-old Gabriel Venegas was getting off the school bus Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of Placid Lane and Oakcrest Drive when the door to the bus slammed shut on his backpack and the bus started off again, said Gabriel's mother, Virginia Venegas, who witnessed the incident.

"He just started screaming and running behind the bus," Venegas said, adding that he tried to lift and hold his feet off the ground as hung from the side of the bus. "I said, 'Wait! My son, my son! Wait!'"

Gabriel, a student at J. Glenn Edwards Elementary School, said he was scared and yelled until the bus stopped.

After Gabriel and his backpack were freed from the bus, Venegas said, she hugged him tightly.

"I held my son, and I was crying and I was scared," she said.

She took the boy to Central Carolina Hospital as a precaution at the urging of Edwards Elementary's principal and assistant principal. He suffered a small bruise on his knee and a torn shirt and pants.

Barry Sutton Bristow, 55, won't be allowed to drive a school bus while Lee County Schools officials review the incident, district administrators said. They haven't determined what disciplinary action to take in the case.

"I would hope he has an explanation for me when we meet," Superintendent Jim McCormick said. "It's something that shouldn't have happened."

Bristow, a veteran bus driver, didn't finish his route Wednesday afternoon after the incident, which is standard district procedure, McCormick said.

The school sent letters home with all students Thursday to inform them of the incident.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • samiam1244 Oct 27, 2007

    I get behind school buses every evening after picking up my granddaughter from school, and the bus driver's always lets the children clear the buses and into their driveways before they drive off. There is no excuse for what this bus driver did! He should be fired, sorry thats the way I see it.

  • Phlootang Oct 26, 2007

    Gatech, there are countless reasons why a Walmart parking lot is different from the bus driver's situation. For one thing, we are paying for that man's salary. Unlike the Walmart parents, there are not strict procedures prescribed for the specific job. Also, he does not have anything to do but transport the children and ensure their safety. That is his job. But, most importantly, when I was a kid, the bus driver used to drag us 1000 feet uphill in the snow.

  • Like that Oct 26, 2007

    This is a case of gross negligence on part of the bus driver. He obviously did not make sure that the child was clear from the door or the bus. Imagine if it had been a taller student, that did clear the door but perhaps not the path of the bus and the stop sign flap from the side of the bus hits him and causes him to fall and he gets run over by the back wheels. Sounds bad but it could happen. The point is, ANYTHING can happen when you don't follow proper procedure. The bus driver failed to perform his job. He should be fired, he could have killed that little boy.

  • Go Georgia Tech Oct 26, 2007

    This driver made a mistake people... but must he be fired? Need I have to remind you, some of you posting here are more than likely the same ones that will allow your kids to run accross the parking lot- to the car coming out of the grocery store. I guess if your kid got struck by a car you should be executed??

    dont think I am right?-- take 30 minutes out of you day and park in front of any local Walmart-- you will be amazed how often this happens!

  • wolfmandan Oct 26, 2007

    I drove a bus for several years and the 1st thing they taught me was to check all mirrors and look to see that all passengers have cleared the bus. Glad to know the child was okay.

  • Viewer Oct 26, 2007

    "Maybe the schools should let the students drive the buses................"

    It used to be that way in NC. Teenagers drag racing with school buses and other situations caused changes.

  • silverado32 Oct 26, 2007

    there is no excuse for this. there is no way you can't notice a kid hanging from the school bus door. chauncey7381 he has no side of the story for this. he put a child in harms way. he is very lucky he didn't get ran over. the driver need to be charged and fired.

  • law-2-tech Oct 26, 2007

    Thankfully no one was hurt with this accident. The driver made a careless mistake - but unfortunately all drivers do when they get comfortable in their abilities. Watching the footage and being a previous bus driver when I was much younger - my assumption: he let the boy off, thought he was cleared and closed the doors than made that left turn looking to the left driving. As for the looking boy yelling, like many have posted the driver probably didn't hear due to the other kids yelling on the bus once he realized he stopped. And of course there is always the age factor (ie..hard of hearing, time to react). Let this be a hard earned lesson, regroup and move forward. I would agree that 18 is too young for a bus driver - I was fortunate not to have had an accident at that age, but looking back on it I really wasn't ready for that responsibility. Prayers for everyone involved.

  • avidreader Oct 26, 2007

    Look at the number of buses on the road now and the behavior of the children, along with traffic conditions. I am surprised there are not more accidents than there are. Having said that, I don't know how the driver did not see or hear the child or at least notice the backpack was INSIDE the door. Glad the child is ok.

  • Adelinthe Oct 26, 2007

    Everything else aside, how could this bus driver NOT notice a child hung in the door not 6 feet from their own right arm? Boggles the mind.

    Praising God the child is fine.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB