Driver Accused of Letting Students Drive Bus Sentenced

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — A former northwestern Indiana school bus driver who authorities say allowed children as young as 11 years old drive a bus has been sentenced to probation.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports Joandrea McAtee, of Portage, was sentenced Monday to nearly two years of probation. McAtee pleaded guilty in September to felony neglect of a dependent in an agreement with prosecutors.

The 28-year-old McAtee can petition to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor if she completes probation.

The Porter County sheriff’s office has said McAtee allowed three students — ages 11, 13 and 17 — to drive the bus for a short distance in a rural area near Valparaiso as she was dropping students off from school in September 2018. McAtee was fired by the Porter Township school district.

Information from: The Times,