Keys inside bus allow for 12-year-old’s joy ride

A 12-year-old boy steals a Frontier School Corporation bus and takes it for a joyride across three counties before crashing into a garage in Brookston, Indiana early morning Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. (WLFI Photo/Ryan Delaney)

BROOKSTON, Ind. (WLFI) — Keys inside a school bus allowed a 12-year-old to take it for a ride. He then led police on a three county chase before crashing into a home.

“It’s just a nice, quiet little town,” Brookston neighbor Irene Victor said.

What started out as a quiet night ended differently in Brookston.

“I woke up and saw the flashing lights,” Victor said. “I was amazed at how many police cars [there were].”

Early Tuesday morning Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a possible drunk driver near Battle Ground. The driver was not behind the wheel of a typical vehicle.

“The caller said there was a school bus, a shorter school bus, driving reckless down the road, very slow, but all over the roadway,” Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Deputy Alex Feistel said.

Feistel said the driver of the Frontier School Corporation bus did not stop for police. A chase began spanning Tippecanoe, Carroll and White counties.

“We were required to, forced actually, to deploy stop sticks twice,” Feistel said. “The vehicle still did not stop.”

The driver of the bus eventually lost control, crashed through hedges, took some tree limbs down on the way, finally he came to a stop when he hit the garage.

When police got to the driver it was not a drunk driver behind the wheel, but a 12-year-old.

White County Sheriff Pat Shafer said the boy is learning challenged. He rode his bike from Battle Ground to a home near Brookston where the bus was parked. The keys were still in the bus, so the boy took off.

He crashed into a home on Ripley Street in Brookston where the residents tell News 18 one of them and their 11-month-old baby were in the garage minutes before the crash.

Still, there were no injuries. Victor is thankful for that, but she will not forget the bizarre scene.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Victor said.

The boy was detained by Tippecanoe County deputies, but no word has been released regarding his current status.

A call to the Frontier School Corporation for comment was not returned.

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