School bus driver accused of ‘lighting bus on fire’ with 42 CHILDREN inside, then continuing to drive

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Authorities in Utah have detained and charged a school bus driver in connection with two alleged incidents of arson — with one involving dozens of school children

Michael Austin Ford, 58, was indicted by a grand jury in February and was detained on Friday after authorities accused him of setting a school bus on fire on two separate occasions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Utah, said in a statement

Cause of Fire

Fire investigators have determined that both incidents were the result of a fire sparked from an ‘incendiary source,’ according to a motion for detention. 

He has been charged with two counts of arson of a vehicle of an organization receiving federal funds, the statement said. 

Ford, who was employed by the Granite School District in central Salt Lake County during both incidents, allegedly set a bus on fire with 42 students inside in February 2022, according to the statement. 

He Was Undeterred

During that incident, he drove ‘with smoke billowing past his face’ and remained ‘undeterred by the smoke,’ surveillance footage shows, Utah authorities alleged in the court document.

He Didn’t Stop Until …

Ford allegedly stopped the bus when the children were ‘seen and heard coughing, covering their faces, and complaining about smoke,’ per the motion for detention. 

In April 2023, he was driving a school bus of the Granite School District when he allegedly lit a fire on the bus while in traffic, the attorney’s office statement said, citing surveillance footage.

It wasn’t immediately clear if there were students on that bus and the attorney’s office did not respond to requests for further clarification.

Ford was later arrested by Granite School Police and subsequently released, the statement said.

It’s not clear on what grounds he was released or why he remained employed by the district following the 2022 incident.

The school district was not reachable on Tuesday.

He Had a Prior Arson Case

In October 2023, authorities also launched an arson investigation after Ford’s home and vehicle were reportedly damaged in a fire, the court document alleged. Authorities did not disclose a motive behind the incidents.

Ford allegedly has a history of arson cases, per the motion for detention.He allegedly ‘acknowledged to investigators’ that he was involved in three other bus fires — one between 2001 and 2002, and the others in 2016 and 2017, according to the motion for detention.

He has entered a plea of not guilty, online court records show.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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