Bus driver faked bus stop stalker

A March 24 Facebook post from the Sheriff’s Office warning parents about a suspicious man allegedly stalking school bus stops. It turned out, however, that the man didn’t exist.

A Knox County Schools bus driver has been banned from transporting students because she falsely claimed that a suspicious man was stalking bus stops, authorities said.

The driver was removed from the driver eligibility roster on April 8, said a spokesperson for the school system.

According to Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler, detectives looked into a report filed last month by the bus driver that a suspicious man driving a red Ford Thunderbird was trying to approach children at bus stops.  

The report prompted the Sheriff’s Office to issue several warnings to the public that included a detailed description of the car and suspect.

“Both School Security and the Sheriff’s Office have received complaints of the man in the area (bus stops) of several West Knox County School Campuses and various neighborhoods attempting to engage children in conversation,” said one March 24 post on the KCSO Facebook page. 

The subsequent investigation included numerous interviews, following up on possible sightings reported by the community and having the Patrol, Traffic and Detective divisions conduct surveillance, he said.

KCSO detectives ultimately discovered that the original statement provided by the bus driver was false, according to Spangler.

“The bus driver admitted the story was fabricated,” he said.

When asked if the bus driver — who wasn’t charged criminally — had given any indications as to why she’d concocted the tale, a KCSO spokesperson said, “I am not aware of motive and yes, it is my understanding on her not being charged.  I think the schools have a copy of the original statement she wrote along with the statement she wrote subsequently stating it was a fabrication.”

School system officials haven’t responded to several requests for further information on the case. 

Hard Knox Wire isn’t publishing the bus driver’s name because she hasn’t been charged, further details of the case haven’t been released by the school system and she couldn’t be reached to give her side of the story. 

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at jjstambaugh@hardknoxwire.com 

Published on April 23, 2021