Archive for Wednesday, December 22, 1999

Officers seeking information in vandalism of school buses

December 22, 1999

Vandals, working early Tuesday morning, broke the tire stems on 14 Tonganoxie school district buses.

Nine of the buses were parked at the junior high school, and five were parked at drivers' homes, according to school superintendent Richard Erickson.

Erickson said that 30 tires were damaged at an estimated cost of $5,000.

The vandalism was discovered Tuesday morning when drivers made their routine pre-trip inspections, said bus driver Kathy Jordan.

Erickson said the vandals unplugged any buses that had been left plugged in overnight to keep the motors warm.

Erickson said he thought the vandalism occurred between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.

"The bus drivers start doing their checks at about 5:30," Erickson said. "At that time, some of the damaged tires still had some air left in them, and the buses that had been plugged in were still warm enough to start. So we think they must have been plugged in most of the night."

Among the buses damaged at drivers' houses was one that was parked near the Leavenworth County State Fishing Lake, and another parked on County Road 1, between Tonganoxie and Kansas Highway 32, Erickson said.

"Somebody really worked at this pretty hard," Erickson said. "The police and sheriff's officers are investigating, and we intend to follow up and prosecute. We want to take care of the culprit."

Erickson said that a local business would have the tires repaired by afternoon.

He praised the bus drivers for their extra efforts in transporting students Tuesday morning.

"The bus drivers were able to pull together this morning and get everybody in," Erickson said. "The parents really cooperated, too. A lot of the parents brought their kids in."

Jordan said that some of the bus drivers doubled up on their routes and that by 8:45 a.m., all the students had arrived at their schools.

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