- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Police in western Pennsylvania have filed charges against a former school bus driver who had an 11-year-old passenger move an active power line out of the road earlier this month.

Patricia Ryan, 60, was charged Friday with one count of reckless endangerment and one count of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the April 15 incident that occurred on the way to Penn-Trafford Middle School in Jeannette, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Ryan was transporting students that morning when a goose collided with a transformer and caused power lines to land on a road along her route. A radio dispatcher warned her about the downed power lines and offered alternate directions, but she took her usual way and became entangled in the wire, authorities said, citing audio and video recordings taken from inside the vehicle.

“Immediately after the bus stops, Patricia Ryan can be heard stating, ‘You know what, can one of you get out and move that wire,” police wrote in a criminal complaint.

Surveillance video showed that a student soon exited the bus and returned holding his right hand, police said.

“Ryan can be heard several times asking [the student] if the wire is ‘live.’ Approximately 20 minutes pass and Patricia Ryan can then be heard asking the victim if he is OK,” authorities wrote.

The student, 11-year-old Tyler Cunningham, was burned but not seriously hurt, his father told a local ABC News affiliate.

Superintendent Matthew Harris said he and other educators were on the scene when emergency personnel removed the wires from the road soon after, but that school officials didn’t learn the full extent of the incident until later in the day once students arrived for class.

In a letter to parents, he wrote that Ms. Ryan was fired later that day.

“All necessary steps have been taken to assure that this driver not provide services to the district at any time in the future,” he wrote.

Ms. Ryan, who is scheduled for a May 31 preliminary hearing, said she “never intended to hurt anyone” when reached Monday by the Pittsburgh Tribune.

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