PARENTS: Dutchess County children lost for 2 hours on nightmare bus ride home

Parents say the incident happened on May 14 and involved elementary and middle school kids from the private Catholic school St. Mary’s in Fishkill.

Blaise Gomez

Jun 14, 2024, 10:04 PM

Updated 34 days ago

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News 12 is learning about some frightening moments for more than a dozen children and their families in Dutchess County after parents say their kids’ substitute bus driver got lost on the way home for more than two hours.
Parents say the incident happened on May 14 and involved elementary and middle school kids from the private Catholic school St. Mary’s in Fishkill.
“The kids were on this bus telling this man, ‘We’re trying to give you directions. Let us help you.’ He just kept going,” says Melissa Dinsmore, whose two children were onboard the bus.
Dinsmore says the school never notified parents that the bus was late and that the children were found miles away from their route, near Interstate 84, by worried parents who used cellphone tracking to find them. She says the driver didn’t appear to speak English and allowed parents, including herself, to board the bus and take all the children off.
“He didn’t ask me who I was, nothing. He just let them get off the bus,” says Dinsmore. “[He] didn’t make sure they weren’t getting into a van with a serial killer, just let them go and sped off.”
The Wappingers Central School District says the driver worked for Orange County Transit, which has a contract to transport district students. They say the company fired him after the incident.
“Clearly incidents such as these are unacceptable. I do not have any additional information regarding how the vendor handled the situation internally, but I can assure you that it was handled properly by the district as the safety and security of our students remain our top priority,” says Dr. Dwight Bonk, superintendent for schools.
Bonk says the district is reviewing their contract with the Orange County Transit because of the incident and put a district-owned bus on the private school route to ease parents’ concerns.
Dinsmore says several children onboard were frightened and hungry and had to use the bathroom when the bus was located by parents.
News 12 reached out to St. Mary’s and Orange County Transit for comment but didn’t hear back.


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