Two upstate school buses with children on board are disrupted and threatened within a week.
Now two men are facing charges for interfering the Oconee county bus operations. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office says the two men were both arrested for two separate situations in Seneca.
A bus driver in Seneca told deputies at a bus stop back on April 30th, a parent threatened to kill everyone on board and their families, because he believed his child was being bullied. The bus driver says he told her not to let any of the students on the bus to pick on his child. The driver told the man they wouldn’t.
Following an investigation, Roger Mclane Stephens was arrested for making those threats. He was arrested Wednesday for School Bus Interference Charges and released the same day on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond. All of the students were able to make it safely to school that day.
Then Friday morning another school bus in Seneca was chased by a man, after the sheriff’s office says he beat on the windows at an intersection. Deputies were able to catch up with the suspect, who they say is Dennis Washer.
Deputies say Washer was given a Uniform Traffic Ticket on the school bus charges and also booked on a Temporary Custody Order, pending further charges.
Demond Jones has a child that rides one of the buses involved. He’s concerned about how close strangers can get to school buses. “I got close enough to the bus to knock on it. I just wanted to tell the bus driver to hold up so she could swing around and I could talk to her adult to adult,” he said.
He says he’s glad the bus drivers were able to keep the kids safe, but he’s afraid something worse could have happened. He said the drivers need help to keep an eye these types of outsiders.
“I think they need more than one person on the bus with that many kids,” said Jones.
The Oconee County Sheriff’s office says in both incidents, there were several students on board. The Sheriff’s office and the school district say they commend the drivers for keeping everyone on board safe.
“We believe that their cooperation and how they handled the situation and really everything they did, certainly played a part in keeping their students safe students,” said Jimmy Watt, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office PIO.
7 On Your Side checked and South Carolina bus drivers are required to take several hours of training.
That training helps prepare for many types of potentially threatening or emergency situations.
That includes how to communicate with parents and other drivers. They’re also given specific directions of when to load and unload students for safety.