Boy, 12, Takes School Bus for 14-Mile Joy Ride

Michael Wade Propst facing a few serious charges

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 26, 2014 11:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Employees at a Florida Walmart thought there was something weird about the school bus driving around their parking lot at 5am Tuesday. Its driver seemed to be having trouble parking, and the awkward way it was maneuvering made it seem "like he'd never drove one before," one employee explains to the News Herald. So they called police, and a deputy pulled over the bus ... to find a 12-year-old boy driving it. Michael Wade Propst initially said someone asked him to fill up the bus with gas, but later admitted he took it overnight from a residence and drove it 14 miles across Panama City Beach to the Walmart. Deputies arrested him.

It's not clear why Propst took the bus, but it is clear how: The actual 28-year-old driver apparently left the keys inside. (Not surprisingly, he's been suspended, the News Herald notes; the local superintendent calls the incident "a valuable lesson in securing our buses.") As for Propst, he's been charged with grand theft of an item worth more than $100,000 and felony criminal mischief, reports the Jackson County Floridian. But a school security officer is nonetheless impressed with the boy's driving skills: "You have to take a weeklong course to operate a bus like that," yet Propst managed to drive it on a highway and over a bridge without eliciting any suspicion. He may have hit something, though: Police say they're investigating an 8-foot-long scrape of white paint on one side of the bus.

Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com
Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com   (Shutterstock)
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