Maine Bus Driver Charged After Driving Off with a Mom in the Door
A bus driver in Western Maine is facing charges after driving away from a heated exchange with a parent, while the woman was still between the doors.
What Was the Altercation About?
The mother, Emily Poitras of Lovell, filmed the interaction as she approached the bus and asked the driver if there was a problem. The two then got into a discussion about Poitras' 14-year-old daughter, who the driver claimed had been using her cell phone, something she said she doesn't allow on the bus. During the exchange, the driver made an angry remark at the mother and drove off. Poitras was still between the doors of the bus and had to run to get out of the way.
How Was the Driver Charged?
Poitras posted the video on Facebook, as well as this video that appears to be from her ring camera and more clearly shows how she had to run to avoid being knocked down by the doors. (Caution: There is some strong language at the end of this video) She also turned the video over to the Oxford County Sheriff's Office and the Superintendent of Schools. Oxford County Sheriff Christopher Wainwright confirmed that the driver, 74-year-old Shirley Danforth of Stoneham, has been charged with assault and driving to endanger. She is scheduled to appear in court in December.
Has Anyone From the School Commented?
We contacted MSAD 72 Superintendent of Schools Jay Robinson, who declined to comment on Ms. Danforth's employment status, as this is a personnel matter. He did, however, forward the school district's policy on cellphone use. Per the school's handbook, personal electronics, including cell phones, are not allowed during school hours. They are allowed on school buses, as long as they are not being used in an unethical or illegal manner, including bullying, intimidating, or bullying others. In addition, the use of the camera/video function on cell phones or other devices is prohibited on school transportation.
Poitras told investigators that she walked out to the bus because her daughter had texted her from the bus that something was going on with the bus driver.