Charges filed against Douglass school bus driver

By: KAKE News - Email
By: KAKE News - Email
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DOUGLASS, Kan. -- The driver of a Douglass school bus that was swept into a rain-swollen creek on Halloween now faces misdemeanor charges.

The Douglass school bus with 10 children on board slid off Hopkins Switch Road into Muddy Creek. The students and drivers were rescued by several emergency responders. Three kids and the driver suffered minor injuries.

Earlier this month, the Kansas Highway Patrol released a report saying the driver misjudged the edge railing and drove off the side of the water-covered bridge. The fast-moving waters did the rest.

Today the Butler County Attorney's office filed charges against the driver, 64-year-old Morris F. Peterson. He's been charged with endangering a child and reckless driving. Both are misdemeanors.

Peterson is no longer employed by the Douglass school district. He had been suspended on Nov. 4, but a week later the USD 396 school board voted to accept his resignation during their monthly meeting.

A mother of one of the students on the bus when the accident happened said she believes the charges are appropriate. However, not everybody in Douglass feels that way.

"He's already losing his job, so pressing charges is just really knid of overdoing it in my book," said Robert Bryan, who has known Peterson for decades. Peterson used to drive the bus Bryan's children rode to school.

Bryan said Peterson would never place children in danger on purpose.

"He would do everything in his powers to keep them out of danger," Bryan said. "That's why when I heard they were filing charges, I just couldn't believe they would go that far."

Peterson declined to comment on the charges. He is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 8.

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