Carter County

Elizabethton school buses vandalized

More than a dozen buses damaged

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - Elizabethton Police are looking for who is responsible for vandalizing the city's school buses.

School buses were left parked in Elizabethton after vandals poured sugar in the diesel tanks and slashed some tires.

Investigators tell us it happened early Monday morning before the start of the school day. An early morning phone call woke up parents in Elizabethton telling them they would have to find another way to get their kids to school because the buses weren't running.

As a mom of three, Donna Kennedy knows what Monday mornings can be like; but Monday was even more hectic than most. "We got the phone call Monday morning at 7:00 stating that because the buses were vandalized, there was no bus transportation for any city school here in Elizabethton," she told us.

Her second grader rides the bus to school, so Kennedy had to find another way to get her there. She tells us she doesn't have a car, so a neighbor took her daughter and a family member picked her up in the afternoon. "You just try to wait it out. You have friends and family that pull together and have to help," she said.

In the meantime, police are looking for answers to many questions including who is responsible. "At this point in time we're trying to talk to people, pull any type of video surveillance that's available and go from there. Obviously, with that many buses we are talking about, it's an extensive amount of damage," says Captain Joy Markland with the Elizabethton Police Department.

We talked with school superintendent Ed Alexander, who was scrambling Monday to find buses from other areas like Carter County, Johnson City, Unicoi County and Washington County, Tennessee.

The borrowed buses will be used to transport Elizabethton students until the damaged buses can be repaired. The borrowed buses will have different numbers. Alexander says the same driver will be behind the wheel, so on Tuesday students and parents need to look for the correct bus driver, not the bus number.

Anyone with information about the vandalism should call the school or the Elizabethton Police Department at (423) 542-4141 or (423) 542-7574.

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