(Meredith) – A school bus driver in Pennsylvania is facing child endangerment charges after students say she abandoned a bus at a gas station with more than 25 students still on it.
Pennsylvania state police have charged Lori Ann Mankos, 44, with DUI and 26 counts of endangering the welfare of children, according to WFMZ.
According to Northhampton Senior High School students who were on the bus, the incident began Friday afternoon when Mankos appeared agitated.
Students said at first, they were joking about Mankos’ bad driving. But video captured on the bus shows students starting to panic when the bus begins swerving. In the video, one student can be heard telling the driver to pull over.
Student Mason Persiani, 16, told WFMZ that at first, the bus driver refused to pull over.
“She ended up telling us to… go **** ourselves and flipped us off,” Persiani said. “You know, stuck her hand in the air and flipped us off.”
Then, in the video, the driver can be heard asking, “Do you want, if I just pulled over and called everybody’s parents to pick them up?” The students can be heard shouting “yes” in response.
Eventually, Mankos parked the bus at a Sunoco gas station, but Persiani said she would not let the students off the bus.
Video then shows the students leaving out the back door’s emergency exit.
The school district told WFMZ that Mankos then got off the bus and walked away from the gas station, leaving the students stranded. Police said she handed the bus keys to a gas station employee before walking away.
Many students called their parents to come pick them up from the gas station. The school district arranged for another bus driver to arrive at the gas station and take home the rest of the students.
No one was hurt in the incident, but parents said they want an explanation.
While Mankos was arrested and charged, it’s unclear what penalties she will face with her employer.