After witnessing their beloved bus driver get hacked to pieces by a total stranger, right in front of their eyes, 35 confused children are going to need help coping with the nightmares. A whole herd of crisis counselors will be arriving soon at the Longfellow Elementary School. Meanwhile, drivers are allowed to keep their doors closed to anyone they don’t know. Somehow the policy change isn’t making anyone feel any safer. The way this happened was way to simple to foresee or prevent.
School bus stabbing
Police in Pasco, Washington are still collecting clues days after the bizarre incident which happened on September 24.
It was a Friday afternoon and all the elementary age students were anxious for the freedom of the weekend as 72-year-old Richard Lenhart rolled away from the Longfellow Elementary School building and was just about to pull out of the bus loop and onto the roadway.
Police say that’s the moment 34-year-old Joshua Davis approached the vehicle. The driver opened the doors, “presumably to see what the man wanted, and the man stepped in.” Lenhart wasn’t expecting that but the assailant was “empty-handed” as he asked if “the bus went to Road 100,” a plausible question.
The Pasco Police Department issued a statement noting “on an active street in the middle of the afternoon, in view of others, opening the door to see what the man wanted would not normally be considered a risky action.”
There were 35 young and impressionable children aboard but that didn’t seem to bother Davis. When Lenhart told Davis sorry, they were not going to Road 100, Davis allegedly pulled out a knife and began to stab” the driver, repeatedly.
“During the attack, Lenhart took his foot off the brake, crashing the bus in the school parking lot.” They weren’t physically injured but those children will be emotionally scarred for life. At least, that’s what their lawyers will argue. The district can smell the litigation blowing in the wind already.
Suspect returns to the scene
The attacker reportedly “fled the scene in a truck he had parked along the road moments before the attack.” That indicates the murder of the bus driver was premeditated. “The suspect did not need transportation to Road 100,” the press release spells out. “Davis had driven to the scene in a private vehicle, had parked nearby, and approached the area of the school on foot.”
For unknown reasons, Davis “returned to the scene and was taken into custody.” After he took off on foot, first responders treated Lenhart for his injuries at the scene and got him moved to the nearest hospital but he soon “succumbed to his injuries.”
Police have been wondering if there is more to the story but so far they say it “remains unclear whether the two men knew each other prior to the attack.” According to Police Chief Ken Roske, there “are some aspects of this tragedy we may never have complete answers to.”
Davis sits behind bars, a guest of Franklin County Jail until he comes up with a $1 million bond. The community is pulling together to support the family of the bus driver. He had been on the job for many years and was popular with his students.
The district also released a statement declaring they considered Mr. Lenhart more than a bus driver.
“My heart is broken for the Pasco School District (PSD) community after the loss of one of their own last week,” Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal writes. “Richard Lenhart was a beloved member of the PSD community for many years, and my heart goes out to his family, colleagues, and students as they navigate this immense loss.”