It's been a rough week to be a bus driver. While postal workers have traditionally been the go-to stereotype for psychos, it's increasingly seeming that the modern-day Ralph Kramdens are taking that title. Let's examine the evidence.
- On Saturday, Richard L. Madison was charged with a DUI outside Chicago for driving his bus — with 24 high school students heading to their prom on board — while three-times over the legal alcohol limit. Madison, who was over a half hour late picking up the students, set off alarm bells from the get-go. "He hopped over a median and cut off 3 cars and then...he took us to the wrong hotel," said Kelly Dano, one of the prom-goers. The terrified students called their parents, and Madison was arrested when the bus arrived at the prom. He plans to plead not guilty.
- Last Thursday, Florida bus driver Patrice Sanders was charged with false imprisonment, child abuse, and child neglect for her unique means of maintaining order. When Sanders spotted two of the students on her bus arguing, she abandoned the rest of her route and drove 20 minutes to her home, where she ordered the two girls – aged 13 and 16 – to fight it out in her backyard. With shades of Tyler Durden, Sanders allegedly told the students, "What happens on the bus, stays on the bus." Unfortunately for her, the 13-year-old didn't heed that lesson, and reported the incident to her mother.
- Yesterday, Arizona bus driver Todd Hezlitt was sentenced to six years in prison for hightailing it to Mexico with a 15-year-old girl. Hazlitt, who was initially arrested in April of last year for having sex with the girl, was spotted with her at a high school graduation soon after, violating the terms of his release. When cops sought to arrest him, they discovered he'd fled with her south of the border. Two months later, the girl turned herself in to the US consulate in Mazatlan, and Hazlitt was extradited. He pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and one count of custodial interference.
- On Friday, three New Yorkers who worked as bus drivers for special-needs children in Yonkers were indicted in one of the biggest thefts in New York history, totalling $2.8 million. The three were part of a much broader crime ring that looted $45 million from ATMs across the globe, using stolen information from prepaid debit card accounts. They've all entered not-guilty pleas.
- And, saving the worst for last, is the case of Ariel Castro, the bus driver arrested last week for kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight and keeping them imprisoned in his ramshackle home on the west side of Cleveland for a decade. Castro, who is being held on an $8 million bond, has been charged with kidnapping and rape, and may face the death penalty if convicted.
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