Roger McLane Stephens
Dennis Patrick Washer
By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer
(Walhalla, SC)——————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has arrested two individuals this week on charges of interfering with the operations of a school bus.
The first incident was reported to the Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, April 30th, when a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division arrived at Seneca High School to speak with the School Resource Officer about an incident that occurred the previous day.
A school bus was stopped at the intersection of Shiloh Road and Gloria Lane in Seneca around 7am on April 29th. An individual talked to the bus driver and told her not to let any of the students on the bus to pick on his child. The driver informed the individual that they wouldn’t. The individual then made threats to harm those on the bus if his child was picked on.
Warrants were obtained as a result of the investigation on 44 year old Roger McLane Stephens of Gloria Lane. He was arrested on Wednesday of this week and booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 8:07am. Stephens was released the same day on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.
The second incident occurred this morning as dispatcher’s received two phone calls this morning after 8am concerning an individual driving a silver vehicle that got out and stopped a school bus and reportedly was hitting the bus and beating on the windows near the intersection of Highway 123 and Sheep Farm Road in Seneca.
The bus continued on down Sheep Farm Road, however, the driver made a U-Turn a little further down Highway 123 and appeared to be chasing the bus down again on Sheep Farm Road. The bus then turned onto Bountyland Road. Officers were able to stop the vehicle in question near the Hamilton Career Center on Keowee School Road.
The driver of the silver vehicle, 61 year old Dennis Patrick Washer of East Ashton Street in Seneca, was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 9:23am this morning. He was given a Uniform Traffic Ticket on the school bus charges and also booked on a Temporary Custody Order as further charges are pending in the case.
“The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office will not tolerate anyone who interferes with the day-to-day operations of bus driver’s and students getting to and from school or who makes threats or attempts to put them in danger in any way,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “If we are notified that someone is putting our children in danger by their actions, we will investigate and bring charges if those allegations are proven true and make arrests of those responsible.”
“I commend the actions of the bus driver’s in both situations for doing everything within their power to keep the student’s on their buses safe,” continues Sheriff Crenshaw. “They do a great job every day and the Sheriff’s Office certainly thanks them for their help and cooperation in both situations.”