Leander ISD to re-evaluate hazardous routes after bus was caught in flooded road

The Leander School District is asking parents for feedback regarding the evaluation of hazardous routes.

This comes less than two weeks after a Leander school bus driver drove into a flooded road with a child on board.

In an e-mail sent to parents Monday, the district said routes will be re-evaluated in December and January following the feedback period, which ends next Monday.

"There's so much shaking anger every time I think about it and it's just a lot to comprehend," said Ashley Ringstaff, whose 12-year-old son was the first student picked up by a Leander ISD bus driver October 16.

It had already been raining for 24 hours in her neighborhood at that point and she didn't even consider the driver would attempt to go over the flooded bridge on County Road 177.

"Why did you feel like you had to do that route? I know that bus was running late," Ringstaff said.

According to Ringstaff, the driver, identified as 57-year-old Nathan Deyoung, didn't go that way the day before because there was already water over the bridge.

Then she got the call from her son that will haunt her forever.

"I couldn't understand him immediately, all I heard was crying and screaming and then he was just like, 'The bus got swept off the bridge,' and I'm like, 'What?!'" said Ringstaff.

Friday, police released video of Deyoung going around a barricade and entering the flooded low-water crossing. Ringstaff couldn't believe how much water it showed covering the bridge as Deyoung tried to cross.

"It almost looked, to me, like it was a suicide mission, in all honesty," Ringstaff said.

Video shows the bus get washed off the road and stuck in the water. Deyoung and the boy had to be rescued.

"What I feel like, it's like you tried to kill my son. That's how I feel. I feel like he tried to kill my son because he could've avoided that whole thing," said Ringstaff.

Although Ringstaff's son didn't suffer significant physical injuries, she said the experience hurt him in other ways.

"We had to deal with a lot of nightmares. They're a little bit less frequent now," Ringstaff said.

She hopes the Leander School District will take steps to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.

"I think it's just, maybe we need to make sure that these routes aren't being taken during the weather conditions. Maybe we need to learn about what are the protocols of delaying school, or what goes into that decision making," said Ringstaff.

Deyoung was arrested and charged with endangerment of a child and failure to obey warning signs because of that incident. Jail records show he was later released on $10,000 bond.

As for Ringstaff's son, she said he, "just wants to go back to being a normal kid."