KIDS ABANDONED BY BUS DRIVER
By EMMA O'NEILL email@example.com CHILDREN will never be stranded: That's what's written on the Kirklands Buslines website - and on Thursday it's believed one of the company's drivers was suspended for ignoring it.
On Thursday afternoon Jacinta (eight) and Blair (six) Ryan from Wollongbar Primary School were on their way home when their bus was stopped in traffic near the scene of a fatal accident near the Richmond Hill Road turn-off on the Bruxner Highway.
According to the childrens' mother, Kellie Creighton, the driver told kids on the bus that because of traffic delay, kids who usually got off nearby should get off at Alphadale Road and walk home.
"My kids are eight and six, they don't know the difference between roads," she said.
"They just got off the bus and didn't know where they were."
To get home from there, the children would have had to walk two kilometres along the Bruxner Highway, through the traffic and past the site where emergency service officers were trying to free the body of the person killed in the accident.
"The driver should have told my kids they would be taken home, or at least that he would call their mum," Kellie said.
A student from Alstonville High School came to the rescue when she realised the children were distressed as they stood on the edge of the highway. She took them across the road and into the closest business - Christmas All Year Round.
When the group walked into the store, one of the owners, Richard Linsen, offered to drive the kids home.
"I just couldn't believe it, one of the kids was crying and the whole thing was just a balls-up" he said.
"I have kids myself and this was just disgusting." Gavin Lane, who lives next door to Christmas All Year Round, agreed that it was a dangerous place to leave kids.
"It's just not good enough, bus drivers have a responsibility to get kids home," he said.
"They shouldn't be dropped anywhere near a car accident." Ms Creighton said she never wanted to lose her children during a school bus trip again.
"My partner was waiting for them at their usual bus stop and they just didn't get off," she said.
"We didn't know where they were. I was a mess." Ms Creighton phoned Kirklands to lodge a complaint about the incident on Thursday.
Yesterday, Kirklands contacted Ms Creighton and told her the driver had been suspended pending further inquires.
"I'd like to thank Kirklands for dealing with the matter so quickly and taking action against the driver. I'd also like to thank Richard for bringing my kids back."
Kellie Creighton is an employee of The Northern Star.