A student who awoke Tuesday morning to discover that she had missed her drop-off at school startled a bus driver, who in turn drove off a north Charlotte street and plowed into a house, narrowly missing its 81-year-old inhabitant.
The driver, the student and the elderly woman all escaped serious injury.
The woman's Norris Avenue house was a total loss, however.
CMS officials say the bus driver had dropped off students before 7 a.m. at Northwest School of the Arts. Unknown to her, a 15-year-old girl had fallen asleep and didn't get off the bus.
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A few minutes later, as the driver was heading through the Druid Hills community in north Charlotte, preparing to pick up students for Walter G. Byers Elementary, the teenage girl awoke.
“In the darkness, it startled the driver,” said Kathleen Johansen, a CMS spokeswoman.
The driver lost control of the bus and smashed into the left-front side of a house where Virginia Rann lived.
The driver and the student were taken to a hospital for observation, but police say they did not appear to be injured.
Charlotte fire Capt. Rob Brisley said the house “was a total loss.” Rann moved in with relatives later Tuesday.
CMS officials said the driver, whose name was not released, did not follow school system policy when she failed to make sure that all students had gotten off the bus at Northwest School of the Arts. She was suspended with pay, pending results of a drug test – which is standard practice for the school system.