ROCHESTER - The father of a girl left on a school bus last week along with 28 other students is angry with the driver who abandoned the bus on Norway Plains Road, and he's calling upon parents of other students on the bus to get involved. "My daughter was petrified," Don Chembars said of his 13-year old who rides the bus which John Dexter, 43, of 39 Pleasant View Circle in Dover, used to drive.
Chembars' daughter was on the bus Wednesday Dec. 12 when Dexter abandoned the vehicle with middle- and high-school age children aboard.
"My biggest concern is the way they are hiring, and the way their screening process is with the bus company," Chembars remarked in response to Eddie Prosper, terminal manager of the bus company, who, in an earlier interview called Dexter "one of the best bus drivers here."
"I don't want to see this happen again. Thank god nobody was hurt, but I don't want to see another instance of this happening or anyone getting hurt," Chembars added.
Police said the county attorney's office decided against bringing forth child endangerment charges because Dexter had left the bus in a well populated area, and had immediately notified his supervisor of the situation.
"The police were there before me, I was there in five minutes, and the bus supervisor was there two minutes after me," Assistant Superintendent Kent Hemingway explained. He added the video recorder on the bus kept running after Dexter took the key out, and said the children stayed in their seats.
While Chembars is frustrated charges were not brought against Dexter, the County Attorney's office declined to comment Thursday afternoon.
"They really were not safe where they were left," Chembars explained, noting the bus was left near Route 125. He then produced a printout from the Division of State Police, N.H. Department of Safety website, of a registered sex offender with a last known address on Norway Plains Road.
"Now you don't have that level of comfort anymore, and that is very frustrating as a parent," he said of school transportation. Chembars also noted the only reason his daughter is still riding the bus is because the Rochester Middle School discourages parents from driving their children to school.
"We would like kids to take advantage of transportation. Access around the building is an issue, and it is more of an issue in the winter," Hemingway responded.
Chembars is new to the area, and encourages other concerned parents to contact him via email at 1v-manexcite.com.