Boy, 11, dragged along ground by school bus

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 16/10/2012
Alec McGregor
Jess Etheridge / Fairfax NZ
LUCKY ESCAPE: Paula McGregor with her sons Alec and Luke.

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A North Shore boy was dragged along the ground by a school bus before managing to escape after he got his bag caught in its back doors.

The incident, at the end of last month, is not isolated with other families reporting incidents including one where a boy got his head stuck in the bus doors.

Alec McGregor, aged 11, was swiping his bus card and exiting the bus at the Torbay shops when his bag got caught in the doors.

The bus was empty so no-one could tell the driver to stop as it started to drive away, Alec said.

"I was sort of scared," he said, as was his twin Luke who witnessed the incident.

"My friends were like 'woah'," he said, as they watched him twist out of his bag straps and leap on to the pavement as the bus drove off.

Alec was shaken but not injured.

A friend followed the bus by scooter to the next stop on another street to collect the bag.

Mum Paula was shocked it happened to her son.

She said it brought back bad memories of the death of North Shore schoolboy Matthew Taylor, 12.

Taylor was killed in May 2000 after being dragged by his bag which also got caught in the back doors of a school bus.

McGregor remembers the tragedy well and is angry similar incidents are still happening.

She rang North Star bus company which operates the school bus to lay a complaint.

A manager rang her the next day to apologise and said they would remind bus drivers of their responsibilities and that it should not happen again, she says.

She says North Star told her newer buses have sensors but older buses are used on school routes.

Ten days later another North Star employee rang and McGregor says when she explained another manager had rung, they hung up.

An apology was not good enough, she said.

"I don't want to see this left up to the driver."

McGregor says newer buses with sensors should be used for schoolchildren and has told her sons to always use the front door from now on.

Ensuring children's safety should be a priority for bus companies, she said.

NZ Bus did not respond to request for comment.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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