Wake County Schools

Substitute Wake bus driver gets lost taking students home

Posted December 10, 2013
Updated December 15, 2013

— Frantic parents spent hours trying to find their children after a Wake County school bus went missing Tuesday afternoon.

The bus was carrying students home from Wildwood Forest Elementary School, some of whom didn't get home until almost 7 p.m.

"We looked on the Wake County (Public) School System transportation website, and for the elementary school, they said all the buses were running on time," said Carrie Graham, who had two daughters on the bus. "We didn't know what to think. We thought they could have been taken."

School district spokeswoman Renee McCoy said the bus had a substitute driver, who was given the wrong route information. The driver got lost and wound up taking the students to the district transportation office at West Millbrook Middle School for help, McCoy said.

Graham said the students on the bus immediately knew they were on the wrong route and tried to give the driver directions so they could get home.

Students take long way home when school bus driver gets lost Students take long way home when school bus driver gets lost

"A lot of the kids were, like, 'Hey, what’s going on here?' They ride the red bus, and she was, like, 'No, this is the purple bus,'" Graham said. "She was taking them on an entirely different route."

The driver eventually "got really flustered" and headed back to West Millbrook Middle, she said.

All Wake County school buses are equipped with GPS units to track their locations, but McCoy said the district's website can indicate only whether buses are on time or not.

District officials said they plan to investigate the incident Wednesday.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • 3TeensGrowinUp2Fast Dec 12, 2013

    You've got to be kidding me.

  • chris31 Dec 12, 2013

    pdmartin - as a parent that personally experienced this issue my thought process is to meet with school and transportation officials, and possibly police officials, to make sure processes are put in place so parents are notified when bussing is not working on schedule.

    I've only just begun this process but thus far it appears transportation officials now have my school principal and asst. principal's desk and mobile phone numbers. Transportation officials can contact them, then they can initiate a robo-dial to inform parents of the delay or problem. My principal apparently learned of this bus issue via the nightly news, nobody contacted her directly (as a parent I cannot).

    Supposedly there is in fact a 24 hour emergency line that anyone can contact. It is detailed here, and is supposedly staffed by real live human beings who can triage and get in contact with school or transportation officials as needed. I have not vetted this. www.wcpss.net/parents/emergencies.html

  • PDMARTIN Dec 12, 2013


    Drive and pick up your kid if you have a problem. Has everyone lost their thought processes. If you're not satisfied take matters into your own hands. YOU get them to school and back.

  • kimrabbeni2 Dec 12, 2013

    Jerset I think you are totally wrong.

    I've been through problems like this with wake county school buses before. One day my son was on a bus that broke down, I stood at his bus stop for over an hour waiting. I called the transportation department for our area and everyone had already gone home. Eventually my son came home ad told me the bus broke but they got it fixed instead of sending a new bus the got it fixed.

    One day someone tried to rob a local bank. All the local schools and any buses on their property were locked. I waited at my son's stop as usual but after an 1 1/2 hr I called the transportation co. I got voice mail. I found an emergency number and called that number. She told me I could leave a message, but she could not contact the managers in the field. Finally, after my son was two hours late he called with a fiends phone to tell he was at an elementary school out of the lockdown zone but closer to our house. I went to pick him up.

  • jetset Dec 11, 2013

    I blame the parents and WRAL for sensationalizing this story. And, putting that forlorn child's pic on rhe WRAL webpage. I am sure the parent agreed to this. Probably watching TV and getting calls from who knows who, having a haydey talking it up. The child is probably talking with her friends and they are giggling and having fun talking about how she looked on the news. And, probably the bus driver is having to complete interviews with the principal of the school and maybe even higher ups in administration in addition to completing incident reports. Shameful the way the media is nowdays.

  • Southern Girl Dec 11, 2013

    Jackaroe123....I did not say what you posted.

  • LetsBeFair Dec 11, 2013

    QUICK ... sweep it under the carpet!!!

  • justabumer Dec 11, 2013

    The kids had a little adventure. Some parents got their shorts in a wad. Everyone is safe. Get over it.

  • mafiamic Dec 11, 2013

    If the first thing you think when your children don't get home on time is that they have been taken, then that media has successfully scared you into believe this is the most likely thing that will happen when it is not.

    Good job media.

    People believe and take for granted the first thing they hear without getting both sides or the full story.Sorry but we do live in a paranoid society,which is why there are so many shootings and robberies and attacks.People are afraid they won't be able to make it or get out of their situation they themselves put them in by listening and believing others and not themselves.

  • staceylynn2boys Dec 11, 2013

    A combined bus route from Weatherstone Elementary last Friday night ended up bringing 11 children back to school at 6:15, two hours they left school. I can't understand why GPS's aren't at least given to the substitute drivers.