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News Story
Updated: 08/17/2013 08:01:07AM

Bus driver gets 21 months in prison for fight

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Patrice Sanders

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Patrice Sanders accepted a plea deal Wednesday before Circuit
Judge Roger Alcott sentenced her
to 21 months for driving a busload of children from three Bartow schools to her house in Lakeland
to stage a fight between two girls who were arguing on the bus on May 9.

There were 30 students on the bus from Bartow High, Summerlin Academy and Gause Academy.

Reports say when she heard the Gause student, who was 13, and the Bartow student, who was 16, arguing on the bus, Sanders made the statement, “This is going to be handled today and they just need to fight,” the affidavit stated.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, 30-year-old Sanders drove to her house at 1133 Enterprise St., Lakeland. She ordered all of the children to get off of the bus, and told the two females — that she would give them Vaseline or baby oil to put on their faces so their faces wouldn’t get scratched during the fight.

The 13-year-old told Sanders that she did not want to fight, police report. Sanders went inside her house to try to find Vaseline or baby oil and couldn’t find any. The girls then physically fought in Sanders’ front yard, as witnessed by Sanders and the other children who had gotten off of the bus.

At least one child videotaped the fight on a cellphone.

Sanders did not try to stop the fight, but stood by and watched. The girls fought until they decided to quit.

Sanders then ordered all of the kids back onto the bus.

Once the bus was back in motion, the same two girls began physically fighting again. Sanders pulled the bus over and watched them fight until they were done. She did not try to stop the fight, the sheriff’s office reports.

When they were done, she told all of the kids on the bus, “What happens on the bus, stays on the bus,” and then proceeded to take them all to their bus stops.

That evening, the 13-year-old Gause student’s mother reported
the incident to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and took her daughter to the hospital to be checked out. She did not have any serious injuries.

That evening, detectives interviewed both the 13-year-old and the 16-year-old, and then arrested Sanders.


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