A school bus driver who told students to “go f*** yourselves” before abandoning them along with her vehicle has been charged with 26 counts of endangering children and one of drink driving.
Lori Ann Mankos was driving so erratically before she pulled over into a service station that many youngsters were screaming to be let off.
Footage filmed by the teenage pupils, in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, suggests at least one student was close to tears. “Call the school, this is not even funny, pull over” she can be heard shouting.
“There was a right-hand turn and when she took it, she was going far too fast – she ended up being halfway into the opposing lane of traffic,” youngster Mason Persiani told local news channel WFMZ News. “That was probably the scariest point of the ride, and at the point my heart was racing."
The teenager added: “She told us ‘Go f*** yourselves’. And then flipped us off, you know, stuck her hand in the air and flipped us off.”
After 44-year-old Mankos pulled over, she is said to have left the vehicle, passed the keys to staff at the petrol station and walked away.
The children let themselves off the bus via the emergency exit at the back.
Joseph Kovalchik, a superintendent with Northampton School District, said officials were “extremely upset” but “thankful” no one was hurt.
He added an investigation had been launched.
First Student, the bus company which runs the route, has not yet commented.
Mankos herself has also not spoken about the incident on 1 March but her mother Debbie Llewellyn said she believed her daughter had suffered a nervous break down.
She said: "First day [as a driver], a kid walked past her and said, 'I hope she crashes the bus into a tree and dies'. I don't agree with what she did but I understand it cause she had a nervous breakdown."
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