By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – A Houston County man was arrested and booked into custody after it was reported he was chasing a bus full of students.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Jeffery Hargrove was arrested for reckless driving and interference with public duties after he alleged chased a Latexo ISD school bus and forced the bus driver to seek a safe place to stop and wait on law enforcement, during the afternoon of Jan. 26.
Houston County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ryan Martin was dispatched to an area near the intersection of FM 229 and CR 2140 and “… was advised that an upset parent was chasing a school bus full of kids,” the affidavit reported.
Martin also was informed the bus driver had decided to drive to the end of CR 2140 (the marina road) because it was a populated area.
He was also advised “… that the driver had parked, had the doors to the bus locked and was waiting on law enforcement to arrive. The driver advised that the parent had followed the bus all the way to the marina and was standing outside the bus,” the affidavit stated.
Once Martin arrived at the location, the law enforcement official temporarily detained Hargrove while he investigated the matter.
“After talking to the bus driver and another school employee who witnessed the incident,” the affidavit explained, “Martin was told there was an ongoing issue with Hargrove and the school district over transportation.”
The probable cause document stated Hargrove wanted his children dropped off at a different time than when the bus had been dropping them off after school.
However, school officials had informed Hargrove because of safety concerns, it was not possible to drop his children off at the time or location he had requested. It was also stated in the legal document when Hargrove was informed of this he made veiled threats towards other school employees.
The bus driver explained to Martin as the bus passed by Hargrove’s residence it appeared Hargrove was trying to flag down the bus. The bus driver did not stop as it was not the scheduled time to drop the children off which had been agreed to by the school.
“At this point, the bus driver said that Hargrove got into his vehicle and began to chase the bus. The bus driver said that Hargrove passed two vehicles in no passing zones to catch up to the bus and then followed so closely behind the bus, the bus driver described it as ‘on my bumper,’” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit reported the other school employee witnessed this, as well.
In addition to the safety of the driver and the children on the bus, the affidavit indicated the incident “… interfered and delayed the other (approximately 24) children from being dropped off at their homes as the bus driver had to drive to a safe area and then wait on law enforcement to arrive as the bus driver believed that she and the children could possibly be in danger,” the affidavit stated.
Latexo ISD Superintendent Dr. Stacy Easterly was contacted about the matter, as well.
Since the investigation is still underway, Easterly explained she was unable to provide further details other than to say, “The safety of our students is of the utmost importance to us.”
Hargrove was charged with one count of reckless driving and one count of interference with public duties, both Class B misdemeanors.
The total bond amount was set at $5,000 which was posted on Friday, Jan. 27.
According to Section 12.22 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a Class B misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $2,000; confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or both such fine and confinement.”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.