A school bus driver in Salt Lake City, Utah, was arrested on Monday for allegedly lighting multiple school buses on fire with students onboard, reported Fox 13 News.
According to the news report, school bus driver Michael Ford, 58, was arrested for aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, aggravated child abuse, and criminal mischief. Ford, who was a driver for Granite School District, was reportedly placed on leave after evidence surfaced that he tampered with his bus.
The Granite District Police turned the investigation over to the State Fire Marshall’s office for further inquisition. The school district terminated Ford on June 5.
Ford is linked to a previous incident that occurred in February last year, smoke began emanating from the dashboard area of a bus he was driving with secondary students on board. He pulled the bus over in the neighborhood and evacuated the students as he reported the fire. The bus was repaired and returned to service.
In April, more than a year after the February incident, a video surveillance caught Ford with a thumb-strike lighter in his hand lighting electrical components under the dashboard. He then continued to drive as smoke filled the rest of the bus. The fire was later extinguished when an airline under the dash ruptured.
The video reportedly showed students coughing and covering their faces due to the smoke.
In all, court documents indicated there were four Granite School District bus fires, all involving Ford as the driver and being caused by electrical issues that started under the dash area.
Further investigation reportedly revealed Ford was also involved in two other fires at his West Valley City home and two vehicle fires, one dating back to 2009.
Ford is being held without bail at the Salt Lake County Jail after his arrest on Monday.
Related: Utah School Districts Installs A.I. Cameras to Track Driver Behavior
Related: Former Utah School Bus Driver Guilty of Viewing Child Pornography
Related: Florida School Bus Driver Arrested After Girl is Left on Bus, Drove Around for Hours
Related: Former Georgia School Bus Driver Arrested and Charged