Tween takes school bus joyride

Twelve years, fourteen miles and a yellow bus. It might sound like part of a romance novel, but it’s real life and far from romantic.

 

Employees at a Walmart at 10270 Front Beach Rd. in Panama City, FL noticed a bus driving around their parking lot at 5 a.m. Tuesday, June 24th. Its driver seemed to be unable to properly park or maneuver the vehicle. Roy Hoover, a Walmart employee, said, “It was just odd the way they were driving it. He was having a hard time parking it, like he’d never drove one before.” There was no safety concern, but the police were contacted.

 

school bus

Bus 746 was taken to a garage for repairs Tuesday (Photo: News Herald)

 

A deputy approached Bus 746 with his emergency lights on. The driver stepped out of the bus – a twelve-year-old boy. Michael Wade Propst first told police that someone named “Constantine” asked him to fill the bus’s tank with gas. He later confessed to taking it from a residence and driving it fourteen miles, across Panama City. He was arrested on the spot and taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

 

Propst made the fourteen-mile drive without arousing suspicion, and from the onboard camera footage he seemed like a skilled driver. A school security officer claims to be impressed with the boy’s driving skills. A weeklong course is usually necessary for prospective drivers, yet Propst seemed to have driven the vehicle on a highway and over a bridge without making anyone suspicious. Police have said that they are investigating an eight-foot-long paint scrape on one side of the bus, but haven’t said if anyone has reported damage or injuries. “We don’t know if that occurred before he got the bus,” said BCSO Major Tommy Ford, “but there’s a potential he ran into something white.”

 

Bus thief Michael Wade Propst. (Photo via the News Herald)

Bus thief Michael Wade Propst. (Photo via the News Herald)

 

It’s still unclear why Propst stole the bus, but police think they know how. The real driver supposedly left the keys inside the ignition, and Propst admitted to taking it by himself. The driver has since been suspended. The local superintendent is calling the incident “a valuable lesson in securing our buses.” Propst has been charged with criminal mischief, grand theft for a missing student recognition device worth about two thousand dollars, and grand theft of an item worth more than $100,000.

 

There is potential for other charges but none have yet been brought against Prospt.

 

 

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Pliscott FOR WEB

Reporter, Robyn Pliscott, writes news and media reviews for The Brandon Beacon.  

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