This Story of a School Bus Driver Getting Hypothermia Will Give You Chills

School bus driver's pleas for a bus with a working heater were ignored.

The driver of a morning bus headed to Monroe Middle School in Wheaton, Ill., on Jan. 23, 2014, says she was given an unheated bus to drive her route and later was treated for hypothermia. | Credit: Patch file
The driver of a morning bus headed to Monroe Middle School in Wheaton, Ill., on Jan. 23, 2014, says she was given an unheated bus to drive her route and later was treated for hypothermia. | Credit: Patch file

By Ted Schnell

A school bus driver in Illinois said she was treated for hypothermia at a hospital emergency room after her employer ignored her repeated pleas that her bus be replaced with one with a working heater during subzero conditions.

Elisha Jones, a driver for Illinois Central School Bus, said that when she first got on her bus about 7 a.m. Jan. 23, she complained that it was cold, but her supervisors insisted the bus would warm up before she picked up the first children on her route.

A check of the archives on FriendlyForecast.com shows the temperature in Wheaton, Illinois, from 7 to 8 a.m. that day was -3 degrees, with winds of 19.6 mph and gusts to 27.6 mph. The National Weather Service’s wind chill calculator put the wind chill values for that morning from -26 to as low as -29 degrees.

Much of the country has been grappling with extreme cold temperatures.

Jones said she was alarmed her employer would show such great disregard for Monroe Middle School students on her route and for her own safety.

“We are aware that there was a bus issue last week involving one of the routes for Monroe,” Wheaton Community Unit School District 200 Public Relations Director Erica Loiacono wrote in response to an inquiry from Wheaton Patch. “The Principal was onsite and handled the situation appropriately. We are following up with Illinois Central accordingly.”

For more on this story click here.

Thomas Little February 03, 2014 at 04:58 AM
patchogue...you're not even getting the gist of malcomb's comment and wonder why do i even care...but i will try anyway...here goes. the bus driver said the heater wasn't working. so malcomb is saying that when the driver begins their shift and something is not working what they should do is replace the bus and how that didn't happen here and instead the driver was told to go about her shift that the bus would warm itself and then from that it all fell apart with the bus driver becoming terrified and having to be treated for frost-nip, yada yada yada. whatever. forget about that. what i want to talk about is your comprehension of what you're reading especially when you are so quick to judge from the things that you have read. the heater(s) wasn't working. even if there were an auxiliary diesel fired engine heater THAT wasn't working. to keep the diesel full from congealing in below 0 temperatures it is recommended to idle from 15-30 minutes. now THAT is what malcomb and i were talking about so whatever you were going on and on about was way way off topic...but when you miss the point of a comment and then comment on the point that you missed it invalidates anything else you may ever comment about.
Teresa Gray February 05, 2014 at 06:11 PM
Wow, all of these skeptics, smh. As a school bus driver for 7 yrs, I believe the story. Not a single bus in our fleet of 80 will warm up in a minute or two. In cold weather it takes at Least 15 minutes of driving it, again, I say at Least. When I was driving mine, when it was that cold here, even after 30 min it was not that warm (and my heat works great) Not to mention all the opening and closing of the door to let students on. Then you drop off your students at school and might have a 10-40 minute layover for which you have to turn your bus off (heat does not work when the bus is off), Yes, I believe it. In fact, wearing 2 pr of socks and boots doesn't help much. Dressing in layers helps, but I doubt her stomach had frostnip. Most likely her fingers and toes. Fingers have to remain somewhat free to operate all the buttons (kind of hard with mittens, which are recommended for that type of weather, and thick gloves interfere with the buttons also).
Roshina Loving February 05, 2014 at 06:20 PM
Half the time you are done dropping the kids off at school before the bus warms up. Wake up America ask your kids if they are cold on the bus? and does the heat work?
Roshina Loving February 05, 2014 at 06:28 PM
This story is true...most of the time the heaters don't work properly or at all. You can put it on the pre-trip inspection and tell your supervisor or mechanic but if they tell you to drive the bus and they don't have spares you have to drive it. Refusing is insubordination and you can be terminated.


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