PROSPERITY — Vandals caused an estimated $65,000 in damage to school buses housed at Mid-Carolina Middle School over the weekend after more than 100 bus tires were either flattened or damaged.
According to a Newberry County Sheriff’s Office incident report, it appeared tires were punctured, not slashed.
All 19 buses stored at the school had tire damage. The damage was discovered Monday morning when bus drivers arrived for work.
According to the sheriff’s office and the school district, the tire side walls had holes in them. The side wall damage could not be plugged or patched, so all the tires had to be replaced.
The tires cost an estimated $375 each and the time to fix each bus was estimated around an hour per bus provided two mechanics were tasked with the work. The $65,000 estimated cost from the vandalism includes parts and labor expenses.
Several neighboring bus maintenance shops provided tires and labor to help with repairs.
Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said Monday that as soon as the buses were repaired they would be sent out to pick up students and take them to school. All campuses affected ran on a normal schedule Monday.
Many of the parents whose children were affected brought their children to school.
According to Newberry County School District Superintendent Bennie Bennett, all buses were operational and ran on a normal schedule Tuesday morning.
The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and the School District of Newberry County are working together to identify and prosecute the person or people responsible for this incident.
A substantial reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person(s) responsible for damaging the tires.
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday Chief Deputy Todd Johnson said the case remained under investigation and the department had nothing more to report.
Anyone with information should contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at 803-321-2222 or make an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of the Midlands at 1-888-CRIMESC (1-888-274-6372).