Driver let hitchhiker, dog onto school bus filled with children, parents say

VIAN, Okla. – An Oklahoma school bus driver is currently under investigation after officials say he stopped to pick up a hitchhiker and a dog, according to KFSM.

Vian School Superintendent Victor Salcedo said children were riding the bus Sept. 12 when the unidentified driver decided to stop and open the doors, allowing the pair to get on.

There were approximately 24 students in grades K-12 on board the bus at the time,  according to Salcedo. The driver drove the hitchhiker home, according to officials, but it's not clear how long the person was on the bus.

The school will not take action against the bus driver until the investigation is complete, which could take 5 to 10 days, said Salcedo.

"We are doing our due diligence and we are doing our investigation," Salcedo said. "In the next few days, I will get all the information necessary from both sides and make an objective decision."

He also confirmed the school does not believe the hitchhiker came into contact with students other than being on the bus with them. When asked if picking up an unauthorized person during a school route is against school policy Salcedo replied, "yes."

The bus driver has been employed at the district for 7 years, said Salcedo.

Naticia Drew said she is one of the parents who called the school after the incident when her three children got off the bus and came inside her home.

Drew told KFSM:

"The kids got off of the bus about 3:30 p.m. They came on as usual, did homework and then my sister comes in a little bit after 4 p.m. and her son had told his mom that [the bus driver] did something. Then, he grabbed his mouth really fast and said, 'oops.' I wasn't supposed to tell nobody.  He goes on to tell us after we had asked him several times that she had picked up an unknown stranger, a hitchhiker I guess you could call her and a dog and allowed her to get on the bus with our kids. Not only did I feel like they were in danger, but anything could have happened to these kids. To make it even worse, for her to tell the kids not to say anything or they would have consequences or be in trouble for it."

Drew said school officials apologized to her and told her they can see why should be upset, but she said this isn't the first time she's been concerned for her kids safety while on the bus. She said she has called the school in the past.

"Not only in this situation, but it has happened in several situations," Drew said. "The kids have been late for 45 minutes because they told me she felt like she needed to call on some horses or some dog that were sick and wait on animal control to get there."