Jessica Wines, a Rappahannock County Public Schools bus driver, has been recognized in front of the school board for her bravery and quick thinking during a domestic incident that occurred during a routine bus stop last month.
According to Superintendent Shannon Grimsley, “Jessica is a true hero in our eyes. Her bravery in a very difficult situation has taught us that the devotion it takes to be a bus driver can morph into courage and action. Jessica’s quick thinking and fast action deserve recognition and celebration. We thank her for her service as a bus driver and feel very fortunate to have her as a part of our Rappahannock school community.”
As this newspaper reported, proper security protocol was followed to a T by Wines when students in her care riding home from school suddenly found themselves in the middle of a serious domestic dispute.
“On September 11, at approximately 4:30 p.m., the school division notified the sheriff’s office that a parent boarded Bus 15 swiftly when her child was exiting the bus at a regularly scheduled stop,” read a joint statement by Rappahannock County Sheriff Connie Compton and Superintendent Grimsley.
The woman reported that her significant other, who was nearby in a parked car, intended to harm her and may have been armed with a weapon. Wines immediately closed the door, issued a call for the sheriff’s department, and drove away.
“The driver did not stop the bus until instructed to do so by law enforcement who arrived on the scene within two minutes of the call,” the statement read. “At no time was the bus followed or a weapon brandished at the scene and the superintendent and sheriff’s office were in constant communication. Parents of students still on board were notified that the bus was delayed and would be released shortly.”
The unidentified suspect was apprehended and charged with an unspecified crime by the sheriff’s office. A stay away order against the suspect to prohibit [their] appearing on any school property, including bus stops, was also issued by the sheriff’s office at the request of the superintendent.
Wines’ route includes, among other stops, Huntly, Flint Hill and Washington.
Following the incident, school administration in partnership with the sheriff’s office reviewed bus safety procedures, provided additional training for bus drivers, and set up a new radio communication protocol to increase response time.