An Ohio dad was arrested, lost his job and could face jail time all because his son didn’t board the bus to church like he was supposed to— and the father didn’t know until it was too late.
Jeffrey Williamson told WCPO-TV his children came in from outside their Blanchester, Ohio home to inform him the bus was there to take them to Woodville Baptist Church, something it does on Wednesdays and Sundays.
“My kids run in the house in the living room here and tell me, ‘Hey, Dad, the church van’s here. We’re leaving. We’re going on to church,’ ” Williamson said of the incident that occurred in May.
The father of four assumed all of his children got into the van, but one of them, 8-year-old Justin, did not board. He stuck around to play in the neighborhood instead and ended up wandering a half a mile from home to a local Family Dollar store.
When he was spotted alone, the police were called. WCPO reported that the boy said he didn’t know his address, but where he lived eventually came out as he spoke with customers.
“That’s definitely totally, totally untrue,” Williamson told WCPO. “He knows his way around this whole neighborhood right here.”
“I told the cop he goes out in the neighborhood and plays every day with all the other kids,” Williamson continued. “There’s a million kids around here that play. I know the parents. The parents know me.”
A Blanchester police officer took the boy home, in the processing finding he had to cross a busy street to get to the store, and was still at Williamson’s house when the church van dropped his other children back off.
“The next thing you know, he comes up to me and he says, ‘You’re under arrest.’ My kids start crying their eyes out wondering why I’m getting arrested,” Williamson told the news station.
The next day, WCPO reported, Williamson lost his job a McDonald’s after the news was featured in the local newspaper. He has since found other employment
“It’s ridiculous to me that I was arrested for this,” Jeffrey Williamson told the news station.
Watch WCPO’s report about the case:
Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt told the Wilmington News Journal, based in Ohio, at the time that Williamson argued the Family dollar is “only four blocks away” from the family’s home.
Williamson was charged with child endangerment and will answer to these charges in court in July.
The Blanchester Police Department did not immediately return TheBlaze’s request for comment.
Some on Reddit, which featured the case, blasted the reasoning behind this man’s arrest.
“When I was 8, we had to walk farther than a half-mile just to get to school!” the user of the social news site going by NeonDisease wrote.
“When I was eight, I spent all my summer days wandering in the woods, doing all kinds of dangerous stuff without supervision.. I was just barely in earshot for the call to dinner,” the user going by freudonatrain added.
Williamson told WCPO that Justin was grounded for not getting on the bus and wandering away from home.