Local News

Driver Fired After Missing Johnston Man Found On Bus

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SMITHFIELD, N.C. — A Johnston County man who had been missing since Wednesday afternoon has been found safe after he was left overnight on an area transit bus.

Authorities say 22-year-old Marcus Vinson Dickens usually takes the bus to work and back home each evening. When Dickens, who has Down syndrome, did not return home Wednesday night, family members contacted authorities and reported him missing.

Investigators spent Wednesday evening searching for him in his neighborhood and surrounding areas. Thursday morning, a state Highway Patrol's helicopter was used in the search.

Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said Dickens was later found OK.

"We got word that he was apparently left on a Johnston County Area Transit bus, the bus that he had ridden home yesterday afternoon," he said. "We did speak with the bus driver last night during our investigation, who confirmed that he dropped the young gentleman off at his residence yesterday afternoon a little after 4:15."

According to Johnston County Area Transit officials, the driver stopped to let the rider off, marked in his log to note the time of drop-off and believed the rider had gotten off. Officials said when the driver arrived at the bus compound, he checked his mirror and saw no one on the bus. The driver has since been terminated.

Officials said they have changed their procedures making drivers walk in their vehicles at the end of each shift.

The sheriff said he does not expect to file criminal charges.


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