School bus driver recalls terrifying encounter with two men
PRAIRIEVILLE- The driver of a school bus loaded with children said she had to think on her feet when she says two men stopped her because they thought she was speeding.
The driver, Ms. Templet called the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office during the encounter Monday. One of the men was armed.
"Two older gentlemen were in the street and wouldn't let me pass," Templet said. "They started cursing and yelling saying I was going 85 miles per hour."
Templet said she calmly talked to both men. That's about the time the kids began screaming one was armed.
"When they started screaming he has a gun he has a gun, I told the children to get on the ground," Templet said. "Crawl up front, and (I) revved my engine and let the guy know I was fixing to hit him or he better get out the way."
The two men Clifton Hamby and Kerry Lesaicherre paint a different picture of what happened. They were charged in the incident. Hamby is accused of disturbing the peace. Lesaicherre is charged with obstructing a highway.
"There are two sides to every story," Lesaicherre said.
Both men said they are known for calling law enforcement often to report speeding. When they saw the bus loaded with kids, they couldn't look the other way. Lesaicherre had his pistol strapped to his side when he talked to the driver.
"I'm trying to save your kids," Lesaicherre said. "If that school bus is coming 50 miles per hour had a break problem, 200 yards past my house there's a 90 degree curve with a ditch. Where would your kids be?"
Lesaicherre said at no time did he touch his gun or point it at anyone. Clifton Hamby also echoed his neighbor's frustration.
"I want the public to know everyone has been misinformed," Hamby said. "The only danger the children were in was from the school bus driver and her driving."
Templet said the incident between Hamby and Lesaicherre rattled the elementary school children on the bus.
"They were screaming and crying, and they were hysterical," Templet recalled.
Tonight, Templet maintains at no time was she speeding on the street. The only thing she could think about was the 14 children on her bus.
"At the moment, I just knew I had to get these babies home safe," Templet said. "That's my top priority driving a bus."
Parents we talked to are frustrated that it took the Ascension Parish School System almost 24 hours to notify the parents. The driver of the bus believes the parents should have also been notified sooner.
Meanwhile, both men say they would do the exact same thing again and will continue watching out for speeders on their street.
Hamby and Lesaicherre were both released on a sign out bond.