By Christine keeling
A Chaney student says he was attacked after his substitute bus driver dropped him off at the wrong stop.
The boy, 16, alleges he was the victim of robbery and assault after being told to exit the school bus in front of Ally Food Mart at South and Avondale avenues.
He told police the bus driver failed to drop him off at his normal bus stop, at Gibson Street and Palmer Avenue on the city’s South Side.
“My son noticed that the driver had the wrong turn signal on and asked about his stop,” said the boy’s mother. “The driver told him he’d have to get out here because she was going to the East Side.”
As he exited the bus, the boy was approached by three males, who demanded his cellphone. When he refused, one male punched him in the face numerous times as two others pushed him in an attempt to take the phone, according to the police report. The mother said her son tried to call her during the attack. She said she heard a muffled sound as he struggled and then, “Mom, I just got jumped.”
She got into her car and arrived at the scene.
He was able to escape and run to neighbors, who called 911. He suffered a bloody nose and has swelling in his face. His mother said she thinks his nose may be broken.
“There is no reason for this,” she said. Her son “goes to school to get an education, because he has dreams.”
She said her son is an honor-roll student.
This wouldn’t have happened if the driver wouldn’t have dropped him at that location, the mother said.
The school district disputes the account relayed in the police report.
Karen Ingraham, the school district’s communication director, said in an email that the transportation supervisor checked Monday’s video from that bus.
“The supervisor could verify that the bus stopped at Erie and Hilton, crossed South Avenue and stopped again at the Gibson and Palmer bus stop,” the email said. “The bus did not make a stop at South Avenue/Avondale, which would have required a left-hand turn and would be five blocks outside of her route.”
She said the DVD would be stored on a computer in the school district transportation office and would be available for police follow-up.
A witness disagrees.
“He got off the bus at South and Avondale avenues,” said James Bell of Youngstown.
Bell said he was getting his son off the bus in front of his Avondale Avenue home when he saw the bus stop and drop the boy off by the store.
After the incident, officers arrived at the store and detained two teenagers on the side of the building and a third who had run into the store, according to the police report. But, because the victim was not on the scene, the three were released, after police identified two of them.
Officers reported being flagged by a neighbor, who was protecting the boy, as they left the scene. After speaking to the victim and witnesses, police reported they returned to the store, but the three males had fled the area.
A witness told police that after the robbery attempt, the three “stood there staring at them like they owned the place and feared nothing.”
His mother was visibly upset with the school district for making her son get off in a “high-crime area,” reported police.
She said this is not the first trouble she has had with busing. She said officers told her son to stay on the bus and go back to the transportation garage if something like this ever happens again.
Police said Wednesday the robbery is under investigation.
Contributor: Staff writer Denise Dick