PORT WASHINGTON (AP) - A school bus driver shouted to his passengers "Should I hit the dog?" and then ran over a dog belonging to two of his passengers.
The 44-year-old driver, who quit Thursday over the Jan. 26 incident, said he was joking and was unable to avoid the dog because the road was icy.
The Ozaukee County district attorney's office was reviewing a request by the Sheriff's Department to have the man charged with mistreating an animal. The felony carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Sheriff's Lt. Keith Gross said investigators concluded that the man ran over the dog on purpose. He wouldn't elaborate.
Among the nine students on the bus were two children whose family owned the dog, a 17-month-old Brittany spaniel named Chelsea.
"They became terribly upset, believe me," said Melissa Monahan, mother of the 9-year-old girl and 11-year-old boy who were aboard the bus.
She said the dog often came up to the road when it saw the bus, knowing the two children would be dropped off at the family's rural home.
The driver told a Milwaukee newspaper he posed the question in jest and didn't mean to hit the dog.
"It's an unfortunate situation. But I certainly didn't want to kill the dog," said the driver.