No injuries are reported after a nine-year-old boy stole a city bus in Saskatoon and managed to drive it for a couple of blocks Saturday morning.
Police say the bus was stolen from the bus garages on 300 block of 24th Street West, near downtown.
CBC reporter Steve Pasqualotto was driving south along nearby Idywyld Drive toward downtown when he looked over and saw the child at the wheel of the bus.
Another witness, Michael Pritchard, said he saw the boy take the bus and followed him.
“I just thought, follow the bus and try to stop it,” Pritchard told CBC News.
The boy eventually stopped at the corner of Idylwyld Drive and 25th Street, after getting the bus hung up on the curb.
That’s when Pritchard opened the doors and pulled the boy out of the bus and waited for authorities to arrive, he said.
“When [the boy] stopped I kind of pulled in front and got so he couldn’t go nowhere. And then I told him, get out of the bus,” Pritchard said.
Police say the boy hit two vehicles — a parked city bus and another parked car — but no one was hurt.
Since the boy is nine years old police cannot lay charges.
Officers have confirmed he was taken home and is now with his family.
City investigating why 'safety protocols were violated'
According to city officials, the stolen bus was being repaired on Saturday when it was stolen.
Jeff Jorgenson, General Manager of Transportation & Utilities Department, said he and other officials have reviewed a video tape that captured the incident. Based on this footage, Jorgenson explained that the bus had been left running by a maintenance person when the boy entered the bus and stole it.
"This is a case, from what I've seen, [where] policy and procedures were very clearly violated," said Jorgenson. "Buses are not to be left in that condition."
'This is a case where safety protocols were violated.' - Jeff Jorgensen, GM Transportation & Utilities
Jorgenson said typically buses must be left in a secured state. He explained that none of the steps had been taken to secure the bus, making it easy for the child to drive away with the bus.
"This is a case where safety protocols were violated," Jorgenson said, as he explained that the door was left unlocked, and the boy entered the bus with ease and started driving the bus a short time after entering it because the bus was not secure.
Jorgenson said the bus's brakes were on, but said it is still unclear whether or not the boy drove through the parking brake or how he was able to drive the bus while its brakes were on.
"We have a lot of work to do, to get all of the facts together," Jorgenson said.
Officials at the City of Saskatoon plan to continue their investigation and are not considering any particular punitive action yet.
Jorgenson said early estimates of damage are under $10,000.