Posted: September 23, 2018

Indiana bus driver arrested on suspicion of letting students drive vehicle

Joandrea McAtee.
Porter County Sheriff's Office
Joandrea McAtee.

By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

An Indiana bus driver was arrested Friday, accused of allowing three teenagers to drive her bus, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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Joandrea McAtee, 27, was arrested by the Porter County Sheriff’s Office and charged with felony neglect of a dependent after she allegedly let three students, ages 11, 13 and 17, drive her vehicle, the newspaper reported.

Videos posted on Twitter allegedly showing the incident have gone viral, WBBM reported.

In one video on Twitter, a woman is hovering over a child steering a school bus. “Don’t you tell no other adults,” she can be heard saying.

In another Twitter video, the woman cannot be seen but the girl is steering the bus, the television station reported. “It’s all good, it’s all good. I’m letting her stop at Michael’s stop,” a woman’s voice can be heard saying.

Jeff Biggs, chief deputy for the Sheriff’s Department, said in a release that a Boone Grove parent contacted the high school’s school resource officer, because McAtee allegedly let students drive her assigned bus. According to the release, McAtee allegedly allowed three students to drive her bus short distances as they dropped students off after school around 3 p.m. Thursday.

McAtee was immediately relieved of all duties, Biggs said.

“The students and parents that immediately came forward with this information should be commended for doing exactly what we teach, which is see something, say something,” Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds said in a prepared statement.

“An investigation was immediately started and no one was injured or harmed. The sheriff’s office and the Porter Township School Corp. take safety and security of every student seriously and every parent must understand that this case will be investigated thoroughly.”

First Student, the company that operates buses in Porter Township, released a statement to ABC News that said it was “incredibly disappointed” by McAtee’s alleged actions.

"There is nothing more important than the safety of the students we transport,” the statement said. “Behavior such as this is completely unacceptable and totally at odds with what we stand for as a company. The driver has been terminated. We have a zero-tolerance policy for employees whose actions may harm or put others at risk."


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