Like 500,000 fellow school bus drivers around the country, Joyce Gregory’s day began very early and routinely when she left her home to begin her route on March 3, 2005. But unlike any other driver in the long and proud history of pupil transportation, her day and future ended suddenly and criminally when a teenage student who rode her bus shot and killed her as she stopped to pick him up.
A 14-year-old student who had reportedly been turned in by his school bus driver for using smokeless tobacco was charged with fatally shooting her. Joyce Gregory was shot and killed, but none of the 24 students on the bus, ranging from kindergarten to the 12th grade, were hurt. Two weeks before, Gregory told family members she was having trouble with students dipping snuff on the bus. After several warnings, she reported them to school administrators. The shooting happened around 6:15 a.m. on an unpaved rural road just outside Cumberland City, about 50 miles northwest of Nashville. The bus was picking up students and taking them to Dover Elementary and Stewart County High School.