HARMONY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A driver of R.J. Rhodes Transit school bus No. 16 is in hot water after an incident in early February.
The driver, identified as 55-year-old Larry Bonzo, is accused of throwing a couple of middle school students off his bus. Police got a call.
“From two mothers, that their kids were let off the bus far away from their bus stop,” said Officer Jason Vular, of Harmony Township Police.
According to the police report, the 14-year-old boys, students at Ambridge Area Junior High School, started “making music” with their hands and feet.
“They play drums and stuff in school and they were beating on the seats, you know, so the bus driver told them to stop,” said William Frederick, one of the boy’s grandfathers.
Then, Bonzo allegedly began shouting, “Stop the [expletive] noise. Sit your [expletive] down, or get off my damn bus.”
“Then he just stopped the bus and said, ‘No! Get off of the bus.’ Now these kids are approximately one and a half to three miles from home,” said Frederick.
The boys got out along Legionville Road. One of them left his coat behind – it was 21 degrees – and they were scared.
“Yes, especially walking down there with all them trucks passing them,” Frederick said.
They had walked a mile when a parent, alerted by his son about what happened, picked up the stranded kids and took them home.
Bonzo, a veteran driver for the bus company, is on leave which is standard procedure.
According to Michael Hope, the company’s vice president, they are doing their own investigation. Because it is a police matter, he would not comment further.
Frederick believes that the boy’s parents should have been called if there was a discipline problem.
“But for them to just put them off of the bus like that, I believe that’s child endangerment,” he said.
Apparently, Harmony Township Police agree with that. Bonzo is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of children.