Monitor in deadly bus chase speaks out

June 21, 2009 9:05:31 PM PDT
A school bus aide was speaking out Sunday about the terrifying ride she experienced with a man whom police eventually shot and killed.The incident happened May 29 in south suburban Riverdale when Ronald Newsome hijacked his own bus with Maggie Connelly aboard. It ended after a wild police chase in neighboring Glenwood.

Maggie Connelly took a job as a bus monitor because she thought it was a safe job. The 57-year-old mother of two says she is trying to forget the terrifying ride on the school bus, but Connelly realizes she will likely never forget the chase that ended when she witnessed a police officer killing the bus driver.

"He was going 70 miles an hour, and I was a nervous wreck. I didn't know where he as taking me," Connelly said.

Connelly also says all she kept thinking during the high-speed chase on a school bus was that she didn't want to die.

It all began on May 29 at the First Student bus company in South Holland, Ill. Connelly had worked with Newsome for about a month and a half.

"I'd always get on the bus and wait for him because he'd be kind of last-minute," said Connelly.

What the bus monitor didn't know was, on that morning, Newsome came to work acting erratically and was threatening employees.

Connelly says her boss told Newsome to get off the bus, but he refused and took off.

"He went kind of fast out of the lot. We didn't pick up the first three kids. Then, he picked up one little girl and brought her to school safely, and that is when the chase started from Riverdale to Glenwood," Connelly said.

Connelly says, as police chased the bus, Newsome tried hitting a police officer. She also says Newsome also hit several cars along the way. The chase came to a stop when the bus ran into a construction site in Glenwood.

According to Connelly, she was sitting in the middle of the bus when Newsome refused police orders to get out.

"The policeman got out of his car and went right up to him and shot him in the head," she said.

While Connelly feared for her own life during the chase, she says she has a lot of sympathy for Newsome and prays for his soul all the time.

"Yeah, I did feel sorry for him because he didn't have to die like that," she said.

While she did seek counseling after the event, Connelly said Sunday is the first time she cried about the incident. She became very emotional talking about Ronald Newsome, even though she feared him during those terrifying minutes on the bus.

Connelly attended Newsome's wake with some of her co-workers. She plans to return to work in the fall.


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