ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The St. Petersburg school bus driver who made 24 kids get off her bus and walk 10 blocks to their school Tuesday morning says she did it because she smelled a chemical coming from the engine.
The students, who were headed to Lealman Innovation Academy on 28th St. N., walked the rest of the way to school.
The driver, Angela Williams, dialed 911 and said she smelled a chemical coming from the engine.
“I got off the bus because some kind of chemical that’s on the bus was making me sick,” said Williams to the dispatcher. “Something is on my bus, some kind of chemical and I feel somebody is pouring some kind of chemical on my bus.”
Williams stopped on 39th Avenue North.
There were 24 students on board.
When police and the school found out about the incident, not all of the students on the bus had been accounted for. Since then, all of the students have been accounted for.
Police initially thought one child may have been missing, but the 12-year-old boy was found. Authorities say he was never on the bus.
“I told the kids to get off the bus, matter fact, they walked onto the school,” said Williams.
Parents picking up their children Tuesday afternoon were concerned.
“Something serious could have badly happened by dropping kids off. Just get off the bus,” said Terry Jones.
District officials said Williams did not follow protocol.
“There could be a number of safety incidents that could occur on a driver’s way to school, but again, our policies do require that our bus driver stay with the students if there is a safety concern,” said Lisa Wolf with Pinellas Co. Schools.
Williams claimed this is not the first time she’s had chemical issues with the 2007 bus models. She also believes someone is messing with her bus on purpose.
“Whatever reason, somebody got a problem with me on that job and 31, I went and told my manager that somebody is pouring some kind of chemical on that bus,” said Williams.
All students made it to school safely.
District officials said Williams will not drive while the investigation is ongoing.
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