School bus driver arrested for child endangerment

James Blueberg

James Blueberg

A Carson City fourth grader said he thought a man who unlawfully entered a school bus Wednesday was going to shoot him.

The Wednesday incident resulted in the arrest of 54-year-old Michael Baxter and Carson City School District bus driver James Blueberg.

Blueberg was arrested Friday on suspicion of child endangerment and threatening a student.
He was placed on administrative leave by the school district Thursday.

Baxter was arrested Thursday on suspicion of false imprisonment, threatening to cause bodily harm to a pupil and unlawful contact with a child.

The incident started when the fourth-grader gave the middle finger to the vehicle Baxter was driving, according to the Carson City Sheriff’s Office.

At 8:14 a.m., Blueberg was dropping off students at Bordewich Bray Elementary School, Baxter approached the bus. Blueberg let Baxter enter the bus, as the two were acquaintances.
Baxter stood on the bus demanding to know who flipped him off.

Michael Baxter 

After the fourth-grader admitted it was him, Blueberg is heard on tape asking the student, “what are you doing? Do you want to get your head caved in?”

Baxter then is seen reaching to his right hip with his hand and saying, “You see this? This is a gun.” Baxter continued to lecture the student, as he is crying, before saying, “people shoot people for those kinds of things.”

The video doesn’t show a gun, the arrest report said. Blueberg told authorities that he didn’t see a gun.

Baxter and Blueberg both told authorities they were trying to “teach the student a lesson.”

When interviewed, the 9-year-old said he was “very scared” and thought Baxter was going to shoot him.

Blueberg’s bail is $40,000. Baxter’s bail was set at $7,500.

The investigation is ongoing. District officials and school administrators continue to cooperate with local authorities in providing information relating to the incident.

Families of students on the bus were not immediately notified of the incident so as not to hinder the Carson City Sheriff's Office's ability to apprehend Baxter, the district told the Appeal earlier Friday.

"The case remains under investigation, including as to how the individual gained access to the bus. The school district handles employee issues internally," a school district statement said. "Employee disciplinary matters are confidential. However, district officials diligently follow-up on any allegation involving an employee of the district, with student safety as a paramount priority. The district is committed to taking all necessary steps to fully investigate allegations and to impose all appropriate employee discipline attendant to such allegations, if found to be true."

Any parent of a child who was involved in this incident, who has not been contacted by Wednesday, Sept. 21, should call Detective Sam Torres at 775-283-7855 so arrangements can be made for an interview.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, Dispatch 775-887-2008, Torres at 775-283-7855, Investigation Division Sgt. Craig Lowe 775-283-7815, or Secret Witness 775-322-4900.


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