Parent Stops DUI Suspect in Front of School Bus


SEBRING, Fla. Parents in Florida took immediate action when they suspected the bus driver transporting their teenagers on a graduation trip was impaired and refused to stop the bus.

Keith Shifflett, 55, faces charges of DUI, child abuse without great bodily harm, and culpable negligence, according to the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.

The group departed on Saturday, heading to Daytona Lagoon, an amusement park in Daytona Beach, Florida, when they noticed something was wrong. The passengers, including 30 students and six adult chaperones, suspected Shifflett was impaired and attempted to get him to stop the bus.

“We drove through the first red light and then another,” said mother Maggie Hucke. “We were pleading with him to stop the bus: ‘Please stop the bus, pull over. Stop the bus.’”

Hucke called 911 for assistance. Another mother recounted her daughter calling her, reporting the charter bus driver was speeding, swerving, and running red lights.

“We could hear the kids screaming in the background. Everyone was screaming,” Gissel Diaz said.

The parents on board described the terror they felt as the bus careened down the road.

“It was extremely scary. All six of us parents were screaming loud. We were terrified,” chaperone Rose Singleton said. “I had my daughter on the bus, and I was thinking if we reach this roundabout and he doesn’t slow down, we will flip over.”

Gissel and her husband, Freddie, then jumped into their car and drove towards the bus to try and slow it down.

“We rushed to the bus,” Diaz said. “When we got to the roundabout, I told him, ‘Get in front of him and make him stop.’”

Diaz said the bus eventually halted in the roundabout behind their braking car. Hucke said it was a “miracle” the driver decided to stop and no one was injured.

Another parent, Ann Glover, hailed Freddie Diaz as “the hero of the day.”

“Not everyone would put themselves and their wife in such danger, especially with a big bus going as fast as it was,” Singleton said. “We thank him very, very much.”

After a year of fundraising for the trip and a harrowing journey, the group finally reached Daytona Lagoon.

“Thankfully, we made it, and they had a great time after all, which is what we wanted, but that incident with the bus driver almost ruined our night,” Diaz said.

In a statement, Shifflett’s employer, Holiday Coach Lines, President Michael Kanago stated Shifflett had been with the company for eight years and had always passed random drug and alcohol screenings.

“This has shocked everyone in our company, including his fellow drivers. He was immediately terminated when he was arrested,” Kanago wrote. “In the 32 years Holiday has been in business, this has never happened to us.”

Rachel Tucker
Rachel Tucker
Digital Reporter based in Tampa, Florida.

Latest stories


Related Articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!
Continue on app