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Fired bus driver on toy gun incident: 'I meant no harm' - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

Fired bus driver on toy gun incident: 'I meant no harm'

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Ronald Jones said he started driving a bus post-retirement when things got tight in the recession. The 73-year-old said it was a tough job, but one that was worth it.

"Nobody appreciates your efforts when you try to turn kids into men and women," he said.

But the Army veteran's latest career route came to a screeching halt Monday afternoon as he was transporting students from Dauphin County Technical School. A call came on the radio instructing him to pull over.

"The police got there and said, 'come walk,' and the students were all hanging out of the bus, and I was taken behind the bus and frisked like a common criminal," Jones told abc27 during an impromptu interview at his home in Susquehanna Township.

Jones was frisked as a precaution because Lower Paxton Township police needed to make sure he wasn't armed. Jones had a toy weapon on the bus that day, a Tommy gun left over from a costume party for his 92-year-old mother.

Jones said he brought the toy for two 4-year-olds who come onto his bus every day to hang out while their moms pick up older siblings.

"I thought, 'well maybe they would like this'," he said. "I actually took it with the intent of giving it away."

After playing with it, however, the boys gave it back. Jones said that's when school let out, and one of his regular passengers asked him what he was holding.

"I made what probably turned out to be a bad joke," he recalled. "I said, 'ah this is for the bad kids,' and I laughed and showed her it was a toy."

He said that student then got on the bus and during the ride she managed to call police. Jones was charged with summary disorderly conduct and terminated by his employer, Rohrer Bus Service.

He told abc27 he understands the decision, but said he's now humiliated and hopes people know he meant no harm.

"I always wanted to do good for the kids and part of the reason I was driving was because I thought I could help," he said.

Jones, a retired physicians' assistant, said he will soon begin the search for a new job, but will refrain from accepting another job as a bus driver.

If found guilty, he will face a fine for the summary charge.

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