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Incident on bus full of school kids results in confusion and 911 calls

Posted at 6:16 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 19:17:11-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — When sixth grader Daisy Grindstaff boarded the school bus to go home she and other students immediately knew something was off.

"Throughout this, we're skipping a bunch of places and they could have told us, we have more routes than we can handle, you might not get to your route," Daisy said.

Omaha police got several calls about a bus carrying Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School students driving recklessly. Police reached the bus near 54th and Pratt.

A statement from Omaha Public Schools says in part: a driver from its contracted partner was new to the route. When the driver missed a stop there was confusion which resulted in 911 calls.

"I can understand if it was confusion, but literally people were having panic attacks," Daisy said.

Jonathan Grindstaff, Daisy's father says his daughter was on the bus for two hours.

"Her mom was texting me, my wife, and she's saying, 'Where's Daisy? Is she not home yet? It looks like she's on 64th, oh wait, she is on 66th, she is going the other way,'" Jonathan said.

Jonathan calls the situation "terrifying."

"It was stressful and I was scared because I did think he was trying to kidnap us," Daisy said.

Jonathan is concerned about the system.

"It makes you feel like, can I depend on the bus or not?" Jonathan said. "As soon as you can't depend on the bus and people stop using it, it probably would not improve, so are we going to bus our kids and give them the opportunity to get to a school if their parents can't drive them or are we not going to bus the kids?"

Omaha Police and OPS released statements.

Dear Alice Buffett Middle Families,

We are writing with information about your student's trip home on Thursday. Students normally on bus 14 and 67 rode together, with a driver from our contracted partner who was new to the route. When that driver missed a stop, confusion resulted in 911 calls and a police response near 52nd and Spaulding streets. Investigators called it a misunderstanding and have not issued any citations at this time. We are cooperating fully and reviewing the matter ourselves. Safe, dependable rides to and from school are always our priority.

We appreciate the many families who came to that location to pick up their children. We apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you for your support.
~ Omaha Public Schools

At 4:48 p.m. officers responded to the area of 54th and Pratt Street to investigate multiple 911 calls regarding a school bus that was driving recklessly. Officers located the bus and spoke with the bus driver. He was then released without any criminal or traffic charges. It appears the driver was on an unfamiliar route and missed a stop, leading students to think the driver was refusing to let them off the bus.
Omaha Police Department