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Bus Driver Charged After 'Unauthorized Stop'

Mon, 11/06/2023 - 10:56
East Hampton buses lined up on a typical school day.
Durell Godfrey

Update, Nov. 6, 2 p.m.: The East Hampton Village Police Department on Monday released the official arrest report detailing the "unauthorized stop" that led to child-endangerment charges for a local school bus driver.

The report, which is dated Nov. 2, alleges that after he had finished picking up his elementary-school aged students, the driver left them unattended on the bus while he stopped at the Latin Express store for about two minutes to "complete a wire transfer." There are 21 charges against him, one for each student on the bus.

The defendant is to be arraigned on Nov. 15 in East Hampton Town Justice Court.

Originally, Nov. 6, 11 a.m.: A 51-year-old East Hampton man has been charged with multiple misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child after he allegedly made what the East Hampton School District called "an unauthorized stop" during his morning bus route on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

The driver left "a number of district students unattended," the district superintendent, Adam Fine, said in a statement three days later, when the incident was first announced. "Fortunately, I'm pleased to report that all affected students arrived at school safely."

On Monday, Mr. Fine declined to say which school the bus was headed to that day, nor did he say who reported the incident.

The East Hampton Village Police Department said in a statement that they questioned the driver, who has since been released on his own recognizance. The East Hampton Town Justice Court did not have any arraignment records available publicly as of Monday morning.

Mr. Fine said in the Friday statement that the driver "is no longer responsible for transporting students, and our district administrators are fully cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation of this matter."

"The district takes this incident very seriously and took immediate action by notifying the East Hampton Village Police Department as soon as we became aware of the unauthorized stop," Mr. Fine said. "Furthermore, as the superintendent, I have instructed our officials to pursue all appropriate administrative actions to address the misconduct of the bus driver. Please be assured that the safety and well-being of our students continue to be our highest priority in the district."

The village police said the investigation is ongoing, and that the Suffolk County District Attorney is also involved.

This is a developing story that will be updated when more information becomes available.

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