Polk bus driver accused of staging fight faces judge - WRBL

Polk bus driver accused of staging fight faces judge

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Patrice Sanders, 29, in court Saturday morning Patrice Sanders, 29, in court Saturday morning
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

On Enterprise Street in Lakeland, two young men play basketball on a warm Saturday afternoon. It's not an unusual sight.

What is unusual is what Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says happened on the street on the evening of Thursday May 9.

Judd says school bus driver Patrice Sanders, 29, encouraged two girls to fight.

As at least one teenager recorded video on a cell phone as a 13-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl brawled in the street.

The Sheriff says the teens were on Sanders' bus, and got into an argument.

He says she told the teens, "This is going to be handled today and they just need to fight."

Sheriff Judd says Sanders then drove past all of her regular bus stops, to her house, to allow the fight to happen.

The girls fought, cheered on by others, then stopped.

Sanders then had the teens get back on her bus.  Sheriff Judd says she then told the students, "what happens on the bus, stays on the bus."

Later that evening the 13-year-old told her mother about the fight.  She then took her daughter to the hospital to be checked out.

Detectives interviewed the students and arrested Sanders.

At her first appearance, Sanders was advised she is facing a long list of charges, including two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, two counts of child neglect without great harm and child abuse without great harm.   

Sanders' neighbors say they are surprised by what happened.

Neighbor Sadie Vonador says, "I just think she made a bad choice, the wrong choice, because she's a good girl as far as I know of."

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