WEST YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – A woman boarded a West York school bus at a stop and attacked the driver Friday morning in front of students, the district superintendent said.
Police charged 30-year-old Jackelyn Sanchez with 14 charges, some of which are felonies, in the attack. Court records show she pled guilty to meeting/overtaking a school bus in 2016.
Dr. Emilie Lonardi told ABC27 News Sanchez got on the bus in the area of Poplar and Dewey Streets, started hitting and scratching the driver, then went for her radio.
Lonardi said about 60 elementary school students were on the bus at the time. She said they remembered their emergency drill training and exited through the back of the bus.
“The students did the right thing, and our drills are helpful, they went out the back of the bus like they’re supposed to in case of an emergency,” Lornardi said “The parents really gathered them around and huddled around them to keep them safe.”
It was a horrifying morning for third grader Krystyna Stausbaugh and her grandma Kerry.
“This random girl went on the bus, and then she hit the bus driver. Then the bus driver pushed her our and was closing the door,” Strausbaugh said.
“I saw one child run around the corner and then you hear all the screaming,” said Kerry Mateljan, Krystyna’s grandmother
Parents at the stop witnessed the attack and may have talked Sanchez into leaving the bus, Lonardi said. Sanchez ran away, but police took her into custody a short time later.
“Somebody yelled, ‘She’s running up the street! She’s running up the street!” so me and my boyfriend go right through the kids, turn up the street, start running up the street, and the cops actually had her then,” Mateljan said.
Police believe the attack was random and don’t think Sanchez and the driver knew each other.
“There was no direct connection between the individual and the bus driver,” West York Mayor Shawn Mauck said. “It was a random, isolated event. There was no premeditation from what we can see. There’s going to be an ongoing investigation.”
“We told her, ‘I know you’re scared. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get over it.’ The school called. They’re doing everything they can to make the kids feel safe. They’re putting extra adults on the buses from now on,” Mateljan said.
Lonardi said the children on the bus were scared and upset. The district called their parents and some came for their children, while other students continued to school.
EMTs checked the bus driver at the scene. Her injuries were minor.