Richmond man says off-duty city school bus sideswipes car, flees

Posted at 12:17 AM, Jul 16, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--A city school bus depot is located less than half a mile from Edgewood Avenue, where police say a hit-and-run took place last weekend.

Two police reports have been filed that claim a school bus hit their vehicles. But school officials are adamant that all of their buses were accounted for and parked by 4:30 Saturday afternoon.

A side mirror is broken off a Honda and the front quarter panel of a Pontiac is smashed in with streaks of yellow paint clearly visible. Their owners say a Richmond City School bus did the damage.

"Gotta’ get estimates and take the car to the shop,” said Mike Clifford, the owner of the Pontiac.  “I’ll be without the car, I mean, there's easily a couple thousand dollars of damage."

Clifford's movie night on Saturday was interrupted by the sound of a drama playing outside his Edgewood Avenue home. "The phantom bus, I guess," he said.

Why was a bus traveling the narrow Northside streets, close to 9:30 at night?  Who was driving?  Who did the bus belong to?

"What did the side of the bus say?” I asked a woman who said she was a witness, but who didn’t want to be identified.  “Richmond City Public Schools.”  “And you're sure of that?” I asked again.  “Absolutely, it passed right there on Brookland Park.  It was a fairly new bus and it was leaving fast," she said.

But Richmond Public Schools spokeswoman Felicia Cosby says all of the city buses were parked by 4:30 Saturday afternoon.

She offered Henrico Schools as a possibility because their drivers are allowed to drive the buses home.

But a call to Henrico County quickly ended that.  Andy Jenks, a spokesman for Henrico Public Schools, said all of the county buses were accounted for and none has damage.

Still, a Richmond Public Schools transportation official came out to inspect Clifford’s damage.

"When I hold the steering wheel straight it goes left,” Clifford explained.  “So the alignment is off, obviously the dent is there and my hub is chipped. The door is also pushed into the front panel, so my door is hard to open."

Police are investigating the incident as a hit-and-run. If you saw the mystery bus turn left and head down Brookland Park Saturday night, police ask that you give their Crimestoppers tip line a call at 780-1000