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School Safety - NYC Bus Driver And Kids MIA

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, September 04, 2008 3:32 PM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: School Buses, Bus, Buses and Commercial Lines, Auto Accidents, Bus Safety, School Safety, Bus Drivers

School bus missing while driver is lost for nearly five hours.

Part of September's School Safety Series



IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ yellow school bus/ author: Rundvald


Nearly five hours after their children were supposed to be home from school, parents waited nervously for a New York City public school bus to be found.

It was after 9 p.m. Tuesday when Madinat Koroma finally located her daughter, Victoria, age 5. 

Victoria was the last ones off the school bus, “I was worried about my mother and father, that they were going to miss me,” she said to the New York Times.

School officials tried to reach the bus driver on his cell phone for hours after parents called the Achievement First Brownsville charter school. When he was finally reached, he was ordered to return to the school to finally deliver Victoria and two of her classmates.

What happened?  Bus driver Joseph Gray, age 53, said he got lost and spent time rambling through Brooklyn. The school stayed in touch with him until  about 7 pm, after that he stopped taking calls, explaining later that his cell phone wasn’t working and that his radio was out.

Finally at around 9:20 p.m. he called his bosses at Consolidated Bus Transit. He still had three kids on the bus.

The school was apologetic and explained it was the first day of the route, but that’s not an excuse said the principal.

In response, Gray was arrested on charges of acting in a manner that is injurious to young children.  Parents have been told not to expect any prosecution because Gray was not acting in a “manner that is knowingly injurious to a child,” as it states in the statute.

Victoria and other children were reportedly crying and traumatized, according to her parents.  Victoria says the driver had been looking at a paper, perhaps a map that had “a lot of words.”

Lonero Transit Inc. that provides bus service to NYC public school children said Gray would be fired. He’s been certified to drive city school buses since 2002.

We are trying to find out exactly what happened with this driver, because the conduct so far appears to be bizarre,” the lawyer for the school, Peter R. Silverman, told the New York Times.

“Our dispatchers and our base operations were trying to contact him over a period of several hours by radio and cell phone. Well over 20 different times, attempts at contact failed. So we have no explanation for this type of bizarre conduct.”

Silverman later found that the radio onboard the bus was working.

Recently, an investigation by the General Accounting Office found that about four percent of U.S. truck and bus driving license holders are receiving disability benefits while still holding a commercial driver’s license.  

Disabilities include seizure problems, hearing and vision loss, and heart problems. Some of the problems are so severe that they would not be qualified to be newly licensed.

According to the Transportation Department, 5,300 people died in crashes with commercial trucks or busses in 2006, and another 126,000 were injured.

The city is currently considering installing Global Positional Systems on each bus which would have allowed the school system to locate it and the children immediately.

Children hesitated getting on the bus again Wednesday after their ordeal which left them “very upset and very thirsty” said one parents, and in dire need of a bathroom.  # 

1 Comment

Posted by hall monitor
Thursday, September 04, 2008 8:34 PM EST

This story was featured on LINK ! Check it out for all the crazy headlines from our schools.

Comments for this article are closed.

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