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SC bus driver, 1 other arrested following confrontation in front of students on board

A confrontation between a school bus driver and another woman in front of students onboard a bus could have become violent, according to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

Both women were arrested, but a threat to use firearms was not carried out.

Early Wednesday morning, the Sumter County Dispatch received a report of someone boarding a school bus without permission and confronting the driver while students were on board, officials said.

They said Shapoleon Sheqveia Hayward, 29, of Sumter refused to get off the bus after being asked to leave several times.

Hayward was allegedly shouting at the bus driver, Janaya Mitchell, 27, of Sumter. Witnesses told investigators that Hayward “manipulated the controls of the bus” and removed the keys from the ignition before throwing them into a vacant lot.

Mitchell was also shouting threats while standing outside of the bus, officials said.

According to the sheriff’s office, witnesses overheard Hayward and Mitchell each calling someone on the phone and inviting them to come “discharge their firearms into the bus.”

By the time deputies responded to the call, Hayward and Mitchell had walked away from the bus.

An investigation corroborated witness testimony, officials said.

“This is intolerable,” Sheriff Anthony Dennis said in a statement. “We will do everything within our power to protect our children and school personnel from outrageous behavior like this. It is inexcusable and shameful.”

Warrants were obtained for Hayward and Mitchell and both surrendered to investigators Thursday. The pair were arrested and charged with interfering with the operation of a school bus and aggravated breach of peace. They were both taken to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center and released after posting a $10,000 bond.

It is unclear if and how Hayward and Mitchell knew each other prior to the incident.

The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating.