A former school bus driver charged in an accident that injured one student has pleaded not guilty to child endangerment and reckless driving charges.
Morris Peterson was driving a school bus for USD 396 Oct. 31. He said he came to a low-water bridge at Muddy Creek while driving south on Hopkins Switch Road. He told troopers he saw water flowing over the bridge, but decided to try and cross it, because he did not think it was dangerous.
The fast-flowing water caused the bus to float, and the right tire went over the bridge.
In November, the state filed charges stating, "Peterson did, unlawfully, knowingly and unreasonable cause or permit 10 children under the age of thirteen to be placed in a situation in which the child's life, body or health may be endangered."
The children were able to exit the bus through an emergency exit door on the drivers side of the bus. Rescue crews managed pull Peterson out of the bus. One student and Peterson were hospitalized.
A KHP report found Peterson misjudged the edge of the bridge railing, and drove the passenger side of the bus off the south side of the bridge. The water helped push the bus over onto its side into the water.
Peterson is no longer employed with the Douglass School District.
The state asked for a $1,500 own recognizance bond. Peterson is not in custody.
He will return to court Feb. 24.