School bus driver blames chemical smell for evacuating kids off bus

District says driver's explanation doesn't hold up

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A Pinellas County school bus driver is under investigation after she dropped off 24 kids 10 blocks away from Lealman Innovation Academy. The driver allowed the kids to walk the rest of the way to school unsupervised.

School district leaders say the driver’s excuse for evacuating the 6th-12th graders doesn’t add up.

The school bus driver made a frantic 911 call telling the dispatcher, “Something is on the bus, some kind of chemical. I feel somebody is pouring some kind of chemical on my bus.”

School bus driver Angela Williams, who has been with the district since 2005, told the 911 operator someone dumped chemicals on her bus — on purpose, “It’s getting ridiculous. I feel that my life is threatenened.” Williams went on to say someone didn't want her to keep her job with the district and that may have been the reason someone dumped chemicals on the engine of the bus.

District leaders, however, couldn't find anything wrong with the bus after a careful examination.  It turns out, Williams reported chemicals being dumped on her bus before. That time, district leaders say the bus was examined and found to be perfectly fine too.

Wendi Carron, a parent of a student at Lealman Innovation Academy says it's frustrating. “I'm angry, so angry!” She added, “That someone would drop off children in an area that is not safe at 7 something in the morning to be walking around unsupervised. There is no reason. There is no excuse.”

Pinellas County School District spokesperson Lisa Wolf says Williams won’t be getting behind the wheel of any school bus until their investigation is complete, adding a bus driver is never supposed to leave children unattended.

"This was a violation of our policy. That's why we find this case so concerning," Wolf explained.

For Carron, it’s even more reason to keep driving her kids to school. “Who would drop off the kids and say, 'here, walk!'”

Williams has been a bus driver with Pinellas County Schools since 2005. She has a clean file and has never had any accidents or disciplinary actions, according to district staff.

She was a driver since 2005, the district says she has never once had a problem at work and there is nothing bad in her file.

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