Bus driver takes students off route, through cemetery, parents say

Students were from John Love, Long Branch Elementary, according to parents

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A school bus full of frightened elementary school students were taken off their normal route and through a Jacksonville cemetery before arriving at their destination late, according to parents who had children on board.

Jessica Taylor was one of several parents who called News4Jax, saying their children told them the bus driver, who on Thursday was transporting students from John Love and Long Branch elementary schools, was acting strangely. Parents said instead of taking the normal route, the driver took the bus through unfamiliar locations, including Evergreen Cemetery.

Taylor said children were on the bus crying after hours of not knowing where they were being taken. Before it finally arrived at the intersection of 23rd and Buckman streets, she texted her son to find out why the bus was running late.

"He sent me a message, saying that the bus driver was going to kill him," Taylor said.

Jessica Taylor said she received a text message from her son who was on board the school bus.

When the bus finally arrived, Taylor said she stopped in front of the bus, forcing it to stop. She got out and confronted the driver.

"I asked him what was going on. I couldn't make any sense out of what he was saying. He wasn't making any sense," Taylor said.

Other parents and grandparents of students on board were worried and voiced their frustrations.

"The main thing that made me mad was that they were taken to a cemetery," said Stephanie Coleman, whose two children were on board.

"The kids -- they were very, very upset and scared," said Karen Williams, who had grandchildren on board the bus.

News4Jax has requested the police report from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to learn more about what happened during the bus ride, including which company owns the bus.

The driver, whose identity was unknown, did not wish to make a comment to News4Jax.

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