No trial for former Douglass school bus driver

Published On: Apr 01 2014 05:19:39 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 01 2014 05:22:43 PM CDT
(img1)Douglass Bus Driver Speaks


A Butler County school bus driver will not be going to trial after he drove over a low-water bridge covered in water, turning the bus on its side.

A bench trial was expected to begin Wednesday for Morris Peterson. The former USD 396 school bus driver was charged for driving over a low-water bridge at Muddy Creek Oct. 31.

Instead, Peterson was placed on diversion Monday. Prosecutors dropped wreckless driving charges, but one count of  endangering a child has been put on hold for a year.

A spokesman with the Butler County District Court said the case will be dismissed if Peterson does not have any violations throughout the next year.

The state initially filed the charges in November 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.