Parents Want Answers After School Bus Driver Left 26 Students at Gas Station and Walked Away

After high school and middle school students aboard a Pennsylvania bus grew concerned with the driver’s behavior, she decided to leave all 26 of them at a gas station.

The incident occurred on Friday when driver Lori Ann Mankos, 44, was on her usual route to drop students off at home after school, according to WFMZ.

Mankos allegedly started driving erratically, prompting some students to joke about it. But the situation quickly became more serious.

A student who was aboard the bus explained that her driving became potentially dangerous. Mason Persiani told WFMZ:

“When there was a turn, a right-hand turn and when she took it she was going far too fast. She ended up being halfway into the opposing lane of traffic.”

Students started asking the bus driver to “pull over.” That’s when she drove into a Sunoco gas station and exited the bus.

Mankos handed the bus keys to a gas station employee and walked away from the scene. In a video of the moment, one student asked if they should “follow her.”

The bus driver did not return, so many of the students contacted their parents to pick them up. The remaining children were taken home by a replacement bus driver.

Now, police believe that Mankos was drinking or on a controlled substance during the afternoon route.

She has been charged with one count of driving under the influence and 26 counts of endangering the welfare of children, WFMZ reports.

However, parents have still been left wondering why the bus driver decided to leave. Mason’s father, Anthony Persiani, had to pick his son up from the gas station. He said:

“I would certainly like an explanation. It was a scary situation.”

None of the children were injured during the incident. It’s unclear if Mankos has retained her job with the school district.