Thirteen-year-old takes bus on joyride while driver uses restroom

A 13-year-old boy took a school bus on a joyride Thursday afternoon as a bus driver used the restroom, the Leesburg Police Department said.

The bus driver was preparing for a field trip when she left the bus for two minutes to use the restroom at a Leesburg bus depot. When she returned, the bus had vanished.

“I was able to communicate with the Leesburg Police Department and let them know which way the bus was going,” said Charlotte Rooney-Route, who manages the bus compound. “You have no idea what a person has in their mind, what they're planning."

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Lake County school officials said they believe Andre Johnson was lying in wait when he allegedly boarded the bus and took off.

“They were hearing loud banging, loud noises, and the next thing they knew, the bus was gone," Leesburg police Maj. Steve Rockefeller said.

Johnson left the bus depot, knocking down reflectors before winding his way through a neighborhood, police said.

Investigators said Johnson drove down a dead end, turned the bus around and then plowed through a stop sign and utility box.

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Fifteen minutes later, the school bus was located using GPS tracking software, ending 1.5-mile joyride, school officials said.

“This child needs to understand and folks need to understand, he put himself in a very dangerous situation,” Rockefeller said.

Johnson was arrested and charged with vehicle theft.