Bus driver arrested after forcing teens to fight

On Thursday evening, May 9, 2013, Polk County Sheriff’s Special Victims Unit detectives arrested 29-year-old Patrice Sanders of 1133 Enterprise Street in Lakeland, who drives a Polk County School bus and so far have charged her with: one count False Imprisonment; two counts Child Abuse; two counts Child Neglect; two counts Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.

According to the affidavit, Sanders picked up kids from three Bartow schools – Gause Academy, Summerlin Academy, and Bartow High School – as part of her normal duties, but when she heard two young females, a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old, verbally arguing on the bus, she made the statement, “This is going to be handled today and they just need to fight.”

Sanders then drove the school bus directly to her house located on Enterprise Drive in Lakeland – bypassing any and all stops she was supposed to make to let kids off the bus.  She ordered all of the children to get off of the bus, and told the two females – a 13-year-old Hispanic female and a 16-year-old black female – that she would give them Vaseline or baby oil to put on their
faces so their faces wouldn’t get scratched during the fight.  The 13-year-old told Sanders that she did not want to fight.  Sanders went inside her house to try to find Vaseline or baby oil and couldn’t find any.  The girls then physically fought in Sanders’ front yard, as witnessed by Sanders and all of the other children who had gotten off of the bus.  At least one child videotaped the fight on a cell phone.  Sanders did not try to stop the fight, but stood by and watched.  The girls fought until they decided to quit.
Sanders then ordered all of the kids back onto the bus.

Once the bus was back in motion, the same two girls began physically fighting again.  Sanders pulled the bus over and watched them fight until they were done.  She did not try to stop the fight.  When they were done, she told all of the kids on the bus, “What happens on the bus, stays on the bus,” and then proceeded to take them all to their bus stops.

That evening, the 13-year-old victim’s mother reported the incident to PCSO and took her daughter to the hospital to be checked out.  She did not have any serious injuries.

That evening, detectives interviewed both the 13-year-old and the 16-year-old, and then arrested Sanders on the aforementioned charges.  Additional charges are pending further interviews with the other children who were on the bus.