MARYLAND

School bus breaks down, returns students home 90 minutes late

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SUITLAND, Md. (WJLA) - Tonya Brooks was finally reunited with her two youngest daughters Friday after a frightening 90 minutes when she had no idea where they were.

“I had a panic attack, to be honest. Numerous images went through my mind about where are my babies and what is happening to them?”

Her daughters, ages 5 and 6, attend The Benjamin Foulois Performing Arts Academy in Suitland. Their bus usually brings them home to Accokeek just after 5 p.m., but when they didn’t arrive, her family got worried. Brooks began frantically making calls.

“I called the school board, the transportation department, the police, the principal, nobody answered anywhere. Only thing you could do was leave messages," she says.

When the girls finally reached home, Brooks says her daughters told her their bus broke down.

“I can’t tell you how long they were on the side of the road, where they were, who was with them, was it a flat tire, did they change buses, I don’t have any information right now.”

A spokesman for Prince George’s County Public Schools told ABC7 the substitute driver didn’t follow protocol.

“The substitute bus driver became lost on their route and instead of calling in to the bus lot for assistance, returned to the bus lot where another driver took over. We apologize.”

Brooks believes something has to be done.

“I don’t really want any other family to go through this. There should be protocols in place when kids are not home by a certain time.”

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