Metro School Bus Driver On Administrative Leave Pending Pokemon Go Investigation

Posted at 4:55 PM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 20:16:51-04

A Metro school bus driver was placed on administrative leave while staff investigate whether she was playing Pokemon while driving students.

The action was taken Wednesday after several parents complained and the accusations circulated online Tuesday after the incident happened Tuesday morning.

Students shot cell phone video from inside a school bus that morning. The bus was headed to H.G. Hill Middle school.

The driver came to a stop at a bridge that is too low. Officials said the driver was lost on an unfamiliar route.

In the video, kids can be heard behind her talking about Pokemon Go. "Hey guys...I got a Pokemon guys," said one student.

Several children told their parents the driver was playing the popular game, and has often made unscheduled stops in recent days to catch the creatures on her phone.

"Using a cell phone behind the wheel improperly is a grounds for immediate termination," said Joe Bass with Metro schools.

Yet, he said the staff reviewed all 90 minutes of the bus ride video from Tuesday.

"We saw zero evidence of her playing a game or using her cell phone behind the wheel," said Bass.

Still, Bass said there will also be a review of bus GPS and video records from recent weeks. In the meantime, the bus driver was placed on paid administrative leave.

"Just saying obviously we need to take a few days to investigate and until that happens just like for anybody else we're going to take her off the road," said Bass

Bus video shot by a student shows a clear mistake made by the driver. Some of the students, fearing they were lost Tuesday, sent text messages like this one to parents:

"We were about to die, but we survived."

"What happened?"

"Almost went under a small bridge by river."

"Help us. Help us. We're going to crash."

Some parents tracked the bus, and the video shows the driver allowed a mother, who was concerned about her child, to board the bus and remove her daughter.

"It's pretty serious to let an unauthorized person on a bus," said Bass.

The bus driver could face discipline and more training for that mistake.

After the investigation is complete - if there's no finding of additional wrongdoing - that bus driver will be back on the job and she will be assigned to a different route.