Bench trial set in Douglass school bus accident
A judge will decide whether a school bus driver acted recklessly and endangered students lives when he drove over a low-water bridge covered in water.
Morris Peterson is facing misdemeanor criminal charges resulting from school bus wreck in a creek October 31st. He was driving a bus for USD 396 when he came to a low-water bridge at Muddy Creek while driving south on Hopkins Switch Road. He told troopers he saw water flowing over the bridge, but decided to try and cross it, because he did not think it was dangerous.
The fast-flowing water caused the bus to float, and the right tire went over the bridge.
In November, the state filed charges stating, "Peterson did, unlawfully, knowingly and unreasonable cause or permit 10 children under the age of thirteen to be placed in a situation in which the child's life, body or health may be endangered."
The children were able to exit the bus through an emergency exit door on the drivers side of the bus. Rescue crews managed pull Peterson out of the bus. One student and Peterson were hospitalized.
A KHP report found Peterson misjudged the edge of the bridge railing, and drove the passenger side of the bus off the south side of the bridge. The water helped push the bus over onto its side into the water.
Peterson is no longer employed with the Douglass School District.
In Butler County district court Monday, a judge set a bench trial for April 2. Peterson is currently out on bond.