Boy Faces Charges in Theft of Bus

Wednesday, August 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) — A 9-year-old boy charged with stealing a Trailways bus says he was just going to visit his grandfather. The boy was arrested after the bus crashed while making a U-turn on an expressway.

Ronnell Blakeney faces juvenile charges, as well as a curfew and counseling program until his court date.

Ronnell rode his bike to the bus station Monday, finding a bus with its door open, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

``So I did it just like my uncle showed me how to do it — I pressed this button to start the engine, and that's when I pulled the bus out and started to drive it,'' he told the newspaper.

``I knew the police were going to pull me over, and that I was going to get in trouble. And they were going to lock me up,'' he said.

The bus hit a utility pole as Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer was driving by. Gainer arrested the boy.

``I tried to do a U-turn to hit (Interstate) 395,'' Ronnell said. ``The police officer called me over, and I got down off the bus and walked over to him, and he told me to get in the police car.''

The boy, who will be a fourth-grader next month, stands 4 feet, 9 inches tall — which would explain how he could reach the bus' pedals.

Ronnell's mother, Louise Blakeney, said the boy will face penalties at home even before the court can get to him.

``Ronnell is already punished through November,'' she said, ``and now this is going to take away his Christmas.''