Northwest NEWS

August 12, 2002

School

School bus 'ambush' under investigation

by Jeanette Knutson
   Staff Writer
   Last June 20, seven or eight Northshore School District buses filed out of the Timbercrest Junior High campus laden with happy summer-vacation-bound students.
   As the buses drove through Aspenwood neighborhood, about five trucks, each with as many as nine students aboard, encircled the buses, preventing them from moving forward or backward. Eggs were hurled and paintballs fired at the buses. It was a frightening experience for some of the bus drivers and students, particularly because several of the participants in the "ambush" wore masks and because, said one bus driver who wished to remain anonymous, paintball guns look remarkably like real guns.
   What may have been designed as a student prank, said the bus driver, felt very much like a real attack.
   "This was a big deal," said the bus driver. "Those kids put a lot of people in jeopardy. I don't want to see this swept under the rug. It was a chaotic situation. There was real potential for a tragic accident that day. They crossed the line."
   According to school district spokeswoman Pamela Steele, "The school has spent a lot of time interviewing witnesses and people believed to be involved in the incident. What kind of consequences those involved will incur is still being discussed."
   King County Sheriff's Office helped with the investigation and according to Sgt. Greg Dymerski, Sheriff's Office spokesman, the incident is being handled at the school level.
   No criminal charges have been filed.
   Craig Hopkins, recently appointed Director of Student Services for the Northshore School District, said, "It is my understanding that the investigation is not complete. It happened on the last day of school and, as I understand it, we have not been able to speak with everyone involved yet."