School bus driver arrested after having 'meltdown,' police say
A school bus driver in Conway County has been arrested after having a meltdown and letting a dozen children off on the side of the road, authorities said Friday.
Conway County sheriff's office investigator Alex Campbell said the South Conway County School District driver, identified as 34-year-old Joshua Walls, will face at least one count of endangering the welfare of a minor. He is expected to make an initial court appearance Friday afternoon.
Campbell said passersby called 911 when they spotted the bus pull off on the side of Arkansas 9 at Pinter Lane, where there is not a stop, and let off about a dozen students. The driver, identified by police as Walls, then got off and was seen talking on a cellphone before getting back on board and driving off with other students still on board, police said.
Deputies pulled the bus over about a half-mile down the road and spoke to Walls.
"He said he had a breakdown or a meltdown," Campbell said. "Apparently he was having a panic attack."
Campbell said it's not clear what brought on the episode.
"That he really couldn't explain," he said. "I don't know if the kids were being rowdy or [what]."
Campbell said the total number of students son the bus wasn't clear. Their ages varied, he added, from younger students to one who was 15 and possibly some who were even older.
No injuries were reported.