240. School Bus Crashes

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An elementary school bus driver pulled into a gas station in Ohio because he had to use the bathroom. Instead of turning off the engine and taking the key with him, the driver left the bus running. "It was cold outside, and I didn't want the kids to get chilly while I was using the bathroom," he told a police officer. There were 20 kids on the bus. The driver forgot to set the emergency brake because he was in a hurry, he said.

The bus slowly started rolling away from the gas station. As the bus picked up speed, the kids began yelling and screaming. Ten-year-old Jake had the composure to run forward to the driver's seat and grab the steering wheel. He pressed hard on the brake pedal and managed to stop the bus as it approached a guard rail overlooking a creek bed. Jake turned off the ignition. After the cops arrived at the scene, they congratulated Jake on his heroic effort.

"That is one cool kid," said the police sergeant. "I told him he would make a great police officer when he grows up."

Jake wasn't impressed with what he had done. "Stopping the bus," he said, "was easy compared to playing Grand Theft Auto III," his favorite action video game. The bus driver, walking along the highway when arrested by the police, was initially charged with "leaving a child unattended while motor vehicle is running." While that is only a minor driving violation, the county district attorney said he hoped to upgrade the charge to a felony because of the number of children involved.

"Whatever he is charged with," the DA said, "I will see that he never drives a bus in this county again."

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