(SWITZ CITY) - White River Valley School District officials and the Indiana State Police are investigating a Wednesday afternoon incident after a plastic water bottle was apparently thrown from a bus that ended up shattering the windshield of a following truck.
Nick Schneider, of the Greene County Daily World reports White River Valley School Superintendent Layton Wall said the after-school incident took place on State Road 67 - near the Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. plant, close to the U.S. 231/State Road 57 intersection.
It is alleged that a 16-year-old male student riding in Bus No. 2W, driven by Eric Floyd, threw a plastic water bottle out the window and struck a pickup's windshield.
The 1995 Dodge Dakota truck's window was shattered by the impact of the bottle.
The pickup driver, Robert J. Jenkins, of Worthington, is alleged to have aggressively followed the bus, which was carrying about 40 students from White River Valley Junior-Senior High School in Switz City, trying to pull it over, Wall said.
The superintendent pointed out that the bus driver opted to continue toward the elementary school, instead of stopping to insure the safety of the students on board.
Alertly, bus driver Floyd, a 10-year veteran driver and a former Worthington Deputy Town Marshal, called police and advised of the incident.
"A young man allegedly took a water bottle and threw it out the window and a small pickup truck that was following relatively close behind, it hit his windshield and shattered the glass," Wall said. "Of course, the driver was startled, upset and started chasing after the bus and Eric Floyd called police. He couldn't very well pull off the road along the canal area there," Wall said.
When the bus arrived at the school, about three miles from where the bottle was thrown, Worthington police officers were on the scene to diffuse any conflict between what Wall called "an extremely irate" truck driver.
ISP Trooper Richard Klun, who is investigating the incident, said in a prepared news release that the pickup driver was hit by the spraying broken glass from the windshield.
"The impact caused shards of glass to spray the inside of the truck. Jenkins also received injuries from the glass impacting with his eyes. Jenkins refused medical treatment on scene, but later was taken to the Greene County Hospital (in Linton) by family," Klun wrote.
Trooper Klun said a charge of criminal recklessness against the high school boy has been forwarded to Greene County juvenile authorities for prosecution.
Wall said his bus driver reacted correctly.
"The bus driver did a good job and kept the students safe," Wall said. "Eric (Floyd) handled it just right."
For now, the incident is also under investigation by school officials.
"We are reviewing (video) tape this morning (Thursday) and continuing our investigation. The police are also investigating," Wall said.
The student could face being banned from the bus, suspended or expelled, the superintendent said.
Wall said this incident, the first of its kind for the school district to his knowledge, is being taken very seriously.
"We take this seriously because the man (the pickup driver) had weapons in his vehicle and he was very, very angry. He certainly didn't threaten to use them but he became extremely irate and more irate as time passed. We had students on the bus and those students were jeopardized. We had students that were scared and put into harm's way because of this action.
"We are not doing anything right now because we are viewing video tape. The tapes we have on the buses give us excellent cover. We have three cameras. They are brand new. They cover like crazy and I'm sure we'll be able to see what happened and appropriate action will be taken."
ISP Trooper Adam Davis and Worthington Deputy Town Marshal Randy Raney assisted with the investigation, which is on-going.
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