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Alachua County school bus driver arrested for taking juvenile to her house, letting him sleep in her bed

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Tempestt Odum, 32, was arrested yesterday afternoon on charges of interfering with the custody of a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

According to the arrest report, Odum is employed by Alachua County Public Schools as a bus driver. On the morning of January 20, a student who was already on campus at Mebane Middle School got on the bus and rode for the entire route, including picking up Santa Fe High School students and taking them to school. After all students were dropped off, Odum drove the bus to the bus depot, where she and the juvenile got off the bus together.

Odum then allegedly drove the juvenile to Wendy’s and McDonald’s to get something to eat, then took him to her house where another juvenile was reportedly asleep in her bed. Following a complaint from a parent, an Alachua Police Department (APD) officer went to Odum’s residence at about 11:00 a.m. After he knocked on the door several times, the juvenile ran out the back door, where he was detained by APD officers. After the juvenile had left the house, Odum answered the door. It was later learned that the other juvenile was still in the house, sleeping in Odum’s bed.

Investigators found that both juveniles have skipped school on multiple days and were at Odum’s residence. While speaking to officers, Odum reportedly denied that the first juvenile was ever at her house. She told officers that she had allowed him to ride on the bus, took him to eat, and then dropped him off back at the school.

Officers also viewed the video from the school bus, reportedly hearing a conversation in which Odum said she had allowed the second juvenile to sleep in her bed on multiple days.

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In a second interview on January 21, Odum reportedly confirmed that she did not have permission to take the juvenile from Mebane Middle School and that he had been at her residence when officers were there the previous day.

Mebane Middle School sent an email to parents at 4:30 p.m. on January 20 that read, “A bus driver who transports Mebane Middle School students is being placed on administrative leave while the district investigates a complaint from a parent. The complaint is also being investigated by the Alachua Police Department. I can’t share any details about this situation while it’s under investigation, but if you have information you would like to share, please feel free to contact the school or APD.”

Odum has been charged with two counts of interfering with the custody of a minor, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and one count of resisting an officer without violence. She is no longer in the Alachua County Jail.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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