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January 8, 2014

Driver of Douglass school bus that went into creek pleads not guilty

The driver of a Douglass school bus pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor criminal charges that resulted from his bus overturning into a creek Oct. 31.

The driver of a Douglass school bus pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor criminal charges that resulted from his bus overturning into a creek Oct. 31.

Morris “Joe” Peterson pleaded not guilty to charges of one count of child endangerment and one count of reckless driving, said a spokeswoman in the office of Butler County Attorney Darrin Devinney. Peterson’s next court date is Feb. 24.

Peterson is no longer employed as a bus driver by the Douglass school district.

Ten children were aboard the bus on an afternoon route on Oct. 31, when the bus was pushed off the road by high water as Peterson tried to drive across a low-water bridge, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol accident report.

The bus landed on its side in Muddy Creek, which was swollen by more than 3 inches of rain over the previous day or so.

The only child who was injured was treated and released the same day from the hospital. Peterson, 64, sustained a back injury and was released from the hospital the next day.

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