Bus driver placed on 2-week leave after dropping 5-year-old at wrong stop

Per company policy, driver made mistake

INDIANAPOLIS - A bus driver who dropped a kindergartner off at the wrong stop Monday has been suspended without pay for two weeks.

Bus Mart, the bus company for Andrew J. Brown Academy, admits the driver dropped the kindergartner off at the wrong stop when he should have taken her back to the school after missing her correct stop.

Netra McCulley was sitting at her Indianapolis home when she got an unexpected visit from the 5-year-old Monday.

"I'm blessed that she came here. She could have went to a pervert's house," said McCulley. "I heard someone kind of tapping on my door and I looked out and I saw this little child standing there and she said can she use my phone to call my mommy the bus driver let me off the bus."

The 5-year-old’s family says her step-father was about five miles away, waiting to greet the kindergarten at her correct bus stop after her first day riding the bus.

"A 5-year-old child, she's in a strange neighborhood. I just doesn't understand what the bus driver was doing," said McCulley.

Teresa Bates, the child’s grandmother, was a bus driver for eight years and said she blames the bus company for the mistake.

"When she told him, 'I don't know where I'm at,' if he would have just stopped and took a moment, that's all it took was a moment to look. He couldn't do that," said Bates.

Over the phone, the owner of Bus Mart told RTV6 the driver is on two-week unpaid leave.

"This is a very fine man, a church-going man who has a relationship with the Lord and has a conscience and has done an excellent job for six years, and he's made a mistake and so to crucify him I'm not going to do,” said owner Ron Halbert.

Bates said she thought the driver's punishment should have been more strict.

"I don't think two weeks is good enough when you're carrying somebody's child," said Bates. "That's precious cargo. That's the most precious cargo you can carry, and the outcome came out a blessing. It could have came out way worse."

Bus Mart issued this statement.

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