Driving under the influence, the 44-year-old bus driver was driving dangerously fast. When the students started protesting, she locked them up in the bus and abandoned them at a gas station.
Being a bus driver can get a little tough when having to deal with excitable students. It's not a surprise that things can get a little hectic. But this bus driver took it too far when she told the students to "go f***" themselves before proceeding to abandon the vehicle full of children at a service station. She's been charged with 26 counts of endangering children and one count of drunken driving.
The incident occurred on March 1 when 44-year-old eastern Pennsylvania school bus driver, Lori Ann Mankos, started driving erratically while under the influence of alcohol. Her bus was filled with 26 middle and high school students from the Northampton Area School District who noticed that she was driving off their normal route and seemed very agitated. Starting to feel unsafe, the youngsters can be seen screaming to be let off in a video taken by some of the students in the bus. WFMZ News reported that she also flipped her middle finger and swore at the young teens.
The footage shows that at least one student was dangerously close to tears and was heard shouting, “Call the school, this is not even funny, pull over.”
Another student, Mason Persiani told WFMZ News that, “There was a right-hand turn and when she took it, she was going far too fast – she ended up being halfway into the opposing lane of traffic. That was probably the scariest point of the ride, and at the point my heart was racing." Adding to that, he stated, “She told us ‘Go f*** yourselves’. And then flipped us off, you know, stuck her hand in the air and flipped us off.” In the beginning, he even mentioned that he thought they "had got a good lady."
When Mankos asked if they wanted her to pull the school bus to the side and have their parents pick them up, she was met with a resounding "yes." After she pulled over, she was reported to have left the vehicle at a Sunoco gas station and purposefully prevented the children from being able to leave the bus by locking them up. She apparently handed the keys to the staff there and walked away, according to the state police.
The students had gotten into the bus at around 2:50 p.m. before Mankos abandoned the bus at the gas station around 3 p.m. The children were able to get out of the bus by using the emergency exit in the back. They then got out and stood in the parking lot and were trying to figure out how they were going to get home. Most of the parents picked up their children from Sunoco. It was then that Persiani called his father, Anthony, who promptly came to pick both him and his 13-year-old brother up from the station. "I would certainly like an explanation," Anthony said. "It was a scary situation."
The rest of the students were driven home by another bus driver who was brought in by First Student, the bus company that runs the routes.
In the video, students can be heard yelling at the driver to pull over and saying that they feel unsafe. The driver then gets mad, pulls over, and walks off leaving the young students stranded. https://t.co/zV8tPiTyA7— WTVM News Leader 9 (@WTVM) March 3, 2019
Joseph Kovalchik, a superintendent with Northampton School District, said that officials were “extremely upset” but “thankful” no one had gotten injured. He also said that an investigation had been launched into this matter.
First Student has made no comment regarding the matter. Mankos has not mentioned this incident either but her mother Debbie Llewellyn believes that her daughter had been suffering a nervous breakdown at the time. The Independent reported her saying, "First day [as a driver], a kid walked past her [Mankos] and said, 'I hope she crashes the bus into a tree and dies'. I don't agree with what she did but I understand it cause she had a nervous breakdown."
Watch the full video here: