A substitute bus driver for the Mayfield Central School District is accused of driving his bus away with an elementary school student stuck in the door, according to police.
The student was unharmed, said Mayfield Superintendent Paul Williamsen, who fired the driver.
William Maxon, 70, of 182 County Highway 154, Gloversville, was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor reckless endangerment and with failing to flash a red light, a violation, according to state police in Mayfield.
According to the police report, Maxon failed to notice that a student’s backpack had become stuck in the door of the bus during a stop, and he began to drive off with the child lodged in the door.
The student’s mother filed the report. Maxon was not available for comment.
Williamsen said the incident occurred last Friday afternoon and that he conducted an investigation.
“I was concerned by what happened,” he said.
His account differed substantially from the police charge.
Williamsen said he determined Maxon did nothing wrong criminally, but nonetheless dismissed him as a substitute driver as a result of his investigation. The superintendent said he went to the child’s home to make sure the child was OK, and met with the parents and the babysitter and got their statements. “I got Bill’s statement and went from there. I did not see any criminal concern,” he said.
Williamsen said Maxon worked for the Mayfield district for several years, then retired. He came back to the district to work as a substitute bus driver and did not run a regular route but was used as needed.
“He has been with Mayfield for quite a long time and had no issues that I am aware of and he did his job well,” he said.
Williamsen said his investigation determined that Maxon made a stop with his bus, opened the door and put the flashers on. Then an elementary school student ran across the front of the bus and across the street to his home, and Maxon watched the student cross.
Williamsen said Maxon did not look to his right to see that another student was exiting the stairwell of the bus. Maxon also did not see that the student’s backpack got lodged in the door.
When he did notice, he opened the door and the student fell to the ground.
Williamsen said the bus was not moving at the time. “The bus was never in motion,” he said.