Utah School Bus, Fire

That’s Wild! Utah School Bus Driver Arrested For Allegedly Setting Bus Afire With 42 Children On Board

This is wild!

A former school bus driver out of Utah was arrested after being accused of setting two school buses on fire on two separate occasions.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah, Michael Austin Ford, 58, of West Valley City, Utah, who used to work for Granite School District, was ordered detained on March 1, 2024. A federal grand jury indicted him on Feb. 21, 2024, for two alleged incidents of arson while driving the bus.

The former bus driver is charged with two counts of arson of a vehicle of an organization receiving federal funds.

Court documents stated that the two incidents occurred in February 2022 and April 2023. The first time, Ford allegedly set a Granite School District school bus ablaze while there were 42 children still inside the bus. After setting the bus on fire, he still drove the bus in traffic. He allegedly used an ignition device to start a fire, and he was seen on video still driving the vehicle, although there was smoke “billowing” toward where the children were seated at the back of the bus.

Another incident that took place last year was also captured on video. He was driving another Granite School District bus and allegedly started another fire while he was in traffic. Once again, smoke was seen billowing past his face. Granite School Police arrested him several days later but released him after questioning him.

A court date has been scheduled for Ford’s jury trial. This will occur next month on April 29, at 8:30 a.m. before a U.S. District Court Judge at the United States District Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City.

According to court documents, an investigation was initiated in October 2023 following reports of damage to Ford’s home and vehicle in a fire. He is alleged to have a history of arson and purportedly admitted to investigators his involvement in three other bus fires. One incident reportedly occurred between 2001 and 2002, with the others occurring in 2016 and 2017, as stated in the motion for detention.

Ford has entered a plea of not guilty.