Pinellas bus driver protects unaccompanied children riders, 11 and 9 years old

CLEARWATER -- Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority driver Johnnie Dixon finished picking up passengers at Countryside Mall in Clearwater about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

As he was pulling away, he said two children began chasing down his bus.

“Running curbside, starting to hit on the bus as the bus was in motion,” Dixon said.

With no parents in sight, Dixon said he stopped to let the 11-year-old boy and 9-year old girl get on.

They soon began jumping around the seats and Dixon said he pulled the bus over and made them sit up front where he could keep an eye on them.

When Dixon pulled into his last stop in Tarpon Springs, the children got off. Then, he said, the little boy tried to get back on alone. Still no parents in sight, Dixon decided to call the police.

“I just did what my heart told me to do for the safety of the kids,” Dixon said.

Tarpon Springs police came to pick the children up. A department spokesperson said the two knew each other from school and the 11-year-old boy did not have his parent’s permission to be on the bus alone.

Parents had been out looking for him the entire time. However, police say the little girl’s mother let her ride the bus alone and now she may face child neglect charges.

Detectives will meet with the State Attorney’s Office to present the case and decide whether or not to move forward. CPI has also opened an investigation.