A North Carolina school bus driver went onto a closed road, giving 17 students a “wild ride,” officials and news outlets say.
Jimmy Lewis was driving for Whiteville City Schools on Monday when he went around construction zone barricades, according to The News Reporter.
“The road was completely closed” while city crews were working, William Hinz of the Whiteville Police Department told McClatchy in a phone interview.
When Lewis discovered he couldn’t keep going, he backed up and hit a dump truck, according to The News Reporter.
Also during the ordeal, the bus went into a front yard and “up an embankment,” according to Hinz and WWAY.
Work crews called police, and Lewis dropped off kids before authorities caught up with him, the news station reports.
One student had a “minor injury” and didn’t go to the hospital, according to The News Reporter.
Lewis was facing charges of child abuse, injury to personal property, driving on a closed or unopened highway, hit and run and reckless driving to endanger, according to Hinz.
As for his job as a bus driver, Lewis is “on leave without pay,” Superintendent Kenny Garland told McClatchy in an email.
“The school system is working with the Whiteville Police Department in an ongoing investigation regarding this matter,” Garland wrote.