YPSILANTI TWP. (WWJ) – After a scare in Ypsilanti Township, police now say a mysterious, unmarked school bus is legitimate and poses no danger.
Officials with the Van Buren Public Schools said Thursday morning an unmarked school bus was seen in the West Willow neighborhood near I-94, Ecorse Road and Willow Run Airport, trying to pick up students. When the children refused to get on, the driver sped away.
At least three parents reported seeing the bus in different communities.
Parents were advised to tell children not to approach any bus unless it is clearly marked, and urged to call 911 if they spotted the unmarked bus.
“This is not our bus. All of our buses are clearly marked Van Buren Public Schools,” the district said in a statement. “The incident was reported to the police.”
Although Washtenaw County Sheriff’s officials said the bus initially did appear suspicious, further investigation revealed it in fact was the real school bus, on official business, and that the route and timing of the bus were consistent with the job they were contracted to do.
Sheriff’s spokesman Derrick Jackson says the contractor, All Aboard Transportation, explained that the vehicle is in the process of being repainted, which accounts for why the district’s name was missing.
“There are some pretty specific laws related to school bus and public school transportation,” Jackson said, “and so they are not to be utilizing that bus until it is accurately updated in painted.”
He believes the kids and parents involved did the right thing.
“What we often say to folks — and our young ones in particular, too — is be aware of your surroundings. If it doesn’t feel right, if it doesn’t sit right, if something’s suspicious then to call us, and let’s figure it out,” Jackson said.
Located in Wayne County, Van Buren Public Schools serves around 4,800 students.