Ticket Agents Believe Young Bus Riders are Safe - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/22/06 - Lufkin

Ticket Agents Believe Young Bus Riders are Safe

by Ramonica R. Jones

It was last spring when an Alabama man attacked a little girl on a Greyhound bus in Tyler. The 12-year-old was riding the bus alone when he sexually assaulted her.

The case made it to the courtroom this week and now some folks are wondering 'how young is too young to ride a bus full of strangers unsupervised'?

Twenty-four year-old Lakelvius Swain admitted assaulting the little girl in a bus bathroom last June. She was on her way home to Longview from Dallas when it happened.

The law says any bus passenger under age eight must ride with somebody at least 15 years old. Lufkin ticket agents said passengers between eight and 14 may travel alone on a bus, but only after parents agree to several restrictions.

Donnie Brunk, ticket agent, said, "It has to be a local run - they can only go here to Houston, here to Longview; daylight hours only, so they wouldn't be able to just go to California and things like that. They'd have to just keep it local."

And a parent or some other trustworthy guardian has to meet the child at their arrival location.

"They'd have to fill out a form on this end, fill out a form on that end. It'd be like a $5.00 fee for all of that. They'll have to actually be getting in contact with us. We'll actually have to speak with that individual or that person there."

Brunk said parents should not worry about their child's safety if they ride the bus alone. Bus drivers are trained to watch out for young kids while they're on board.

The suspect in the Tyler bus assault pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child. A judge is expected to sentence him to ten years in prison at a hearing March 2nd.

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