CONEWANGO, N.Y. (WIVB) - State Police are trying to find out who fired a gunshot that sent a bullet drilling through a school bus. That bullet barely missed the driver and came close to a bus load of children from the Randolph School District.
The incident happened along Route 241 in Conewango, Cattaraugus County around 7:30 Monday morning.
"Our driver heard a noise similar to possibly a firecracker or possibly signifying some engine trouble," Randolph High School Principal Dave Davison tells News 4.
State Police say they've recovered what appears to be a rifle round projectile that entered just above the side doorway of the bus. They say it traveled through the passenger compartment before lodging in the metal roof behind the driver.
School District officials say the bus driver heard a noise, and then pulled over to a safe area to inspect what had happened.
"The driver stopped to investigate it. We sent a substitute bus out to transfer the students over to it. The driver immediately checked to make sure the students were safe. which they were," Davison says.
The bus was picking up Randolph Central School students. About 35 students, ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade, were on the bus at the time of the incident.
"The driver is fine. All the kids are fine, and they're doing well," Davison explained.
Peter James, a concerned parent whose children attend Randolph Central Schools and ride the bus, was shocked to hear what happened.
"I think it's crazy," James tells News 4. "Some of my neighbors and stuff hunt back in here. It's state land on the other side of the Conewango Creek. But a 30-06 [rifle] bullet will travel pretty far I imagine," he says. "Stray bullet or not they should know where their trajectory is."
State Police so far have not determined what kind of bullet it was, saying only that technicians recovered a rifle round projectile.
State Department of Environmental Conservation officers are also investigating. At this point it's being classified as hunting related incident. Fortunately, there were no injuries to the driver and students.
State Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 665-3113.
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