Children injured, school bus driver charged in Long Neck incident
An Indian River School District bus driver has been fired and charged with multiple counts of reckless endangering and vehicular assault after police say he slammed on the brakes of a bus and injured several students, including a 9-year-old Long Neck Elementary student who suffered a busted lip during the incident.
Delaware State Police were made aware of an incident that occurred on a school bus transporting students home from Long Neck Elementary School on Tuesday, January 28, 2019.
Through further investigation, it was learned that the incident occurred as the bus driver, 65-year-old Granville R. Lawson of Dagsboro, was traveling within the Bay City Mobile Home Park in Long Neck, for afternoon drop-offs.
Lawson proceeded to intentionally slam on the brakes of the bus, causing injury to multiple students on board, including a 9-year-old Long Neck Elementary School student who suffered a busted lip during the incident.
Following the incident, Lawson made an announcement over the PA system, saying “see what I can do when you get out of your seats.”
It was learned that Lawson made no announcements concerning children being out of their seats just prior to what happened, according to police. Lawson proceeded to continue with his drop-offs after the incident.
Chrissy Norris, of Millsboro, said she was shocked when her two children, ages 8 and 9, came home suffering from injuries sustained in the incident.
Norris’ 9-year-old son reportedly suffered a busted lip when Lawson slammed on the brakes after his braces tore into the back of his lip as a result of the impact.
“My children had come home from school and one of my children had a busted lip where his braces went through the back of his lip, and my other son was extremely dizzy and his head was pounding,” Norris explained. “My oldest son, his head was pounding, and they were both nauseous to their stomachs.”
Following the incident, Norris took her two children to the emergency room where they were treated for their injuries. It was after that point that she filed a police report and went to the location where the incident happened and noticed skid marks on the road.
During the incident, there were a total of 30 students on the bus ranging from ages 6 to 11 years old.
Police made contact with all of the 30 students’ legal guardians and it was confirmed that 11 victims sustained injuries from the incident ranging from bruising, to abrasions, and also concussion like symptoms.
The remaining 19 victims did not report any injury however all reported the reckless manner in which Lawson intentionally stopped the bus. Ten of the parents whose children did not sustain injuries declined prosecution in lieu of disciplinary action by the school.
WGMD News reached out to Dutton Bus Service, the company who contracted the bus that Lawson drove for the Indian River School District, and spoke with the owner, Gerald Dutton, who said he reviewed the tape and saw what happened and immediately terminated Lawson’s employment.
“We do nothing to endanger kids,” Dutton said firmly. “As soon as the bus got in here, I pulled the video camera system and reviewed it and seen what his actions were, he made an ill-advised, sudden stop, and due to that he had been let go for his actions.”
Lawson was taken into custody on Monday and charged with Reckless Endangering Second Degree (9 counts) and Vehicular Assault Third Degree (11 counts). He was released on his own recognizance.