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Bus driver flees when questioned about pot smell

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Published:   |   Updated: May 2, 2013 at 09:57 AM
NEW PORT RICHEY -

It’s something out of an episode of “The Simpsons.”

Hernando High School’s Lady Leopard softball team beat the Lady Buccaneers 3-1 at Gulf High School Tuesday night, then loaded up their gear and headed to the bus for the hour-long ride home.

But there was something different about the school bus, the softball team noticed: that weed smell, according to witnesses at the scene.

For unspecified reasons, the driver, Donna Mae Rogers, 59, of Brooksville, came under heavy scrutiny, and fled when questioned by police.

She did not outrun the police, witnesses said.

“I was notified that we had a driver being arrested last night,” Transportation Director Doug Compton said.

“We sent another driver down to take care of the bus, and notified all the people we needed to notify, and sent it over to human resources.”

Stranded 40 miles from home in another county on a school night that was steadily approaching a school day, the student-athletes waited. Hernando High School coach and Athletic Director Kevin Bittinger declined comment.

Rogers was arrested Tuesday night by New Port Richey Police Department, charged Wednesday morning with one count of resisting arrest without violence, and was booked at the Land O’Lakes Detention Center, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.

As of Wednesday morning, Rogers remains in the jail on $150 bond.

School Superintendent Bryan Blavatt said law enforcement responded quickly to the scene and that once the district sees the official charges and reports about the incident, they will convene and determine an appropriate course of action.

Blavatt also mentioned insurance charges the district could incur.

“I understand we’ll move forward with suspension from duty, and we will base a lot of it on what the sheriff’s office investigation has to say about the charges on the end of this one,” Blavatt said.

“With something like this, she’s certainly not going to go back behind the wheel with us.”

Compton said he notified the superintendent, assistant superintendent, and executive director of business services last night regarding Rogers’ arrest.

“Obviously we needed to send another driver down to take care of the bus,” he said.


mreinig@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5271

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