LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Parents and bus riders were shocked after WINK News obtained exclusive video from LeeTran, showing one of its buses drive past a school bus that still had it's lights flashing and stop arm out. That's illegal.
A WINK News viewer was on that bus and couldn't believe what happened. The bus was driving through the Pine Manor neighborhood on November 12, when a school bus was stopped at 10th Avenue and Maple Drive.
The video from the front of the LeeTran bus shows it come to a complete stop while students get on the school bus. But then, the LeeTran bus starts driving past the school bus while it's lights are still flashing and while the stop arm was still out.
That bus passenger, who didn't want to be identified, said, "it may have been a mistake on his part, maybe he got up on the wrong side of the bed, I don't know. But it's still inexcusable. If it was me doing it, I would have got pulled over! He just rolled right past and I looked at him like 'really?' It's one thing to endanger yourself, it's another thing to endanger a child. I mean, it's crazy. You don't endanger children."
Joann Haley with LeeTran says they reviewed the video with the driver in question. She says, "we stress safety so highly to our drivers, and our driver said he thought the school bus driver had waived him on to indicate that it was safe to proceed and he did take special note that all the children were on board and the door was closed before he moved the bus." She adds, "he may have started to move a few seconds too early so that's something we'll continue to stress. We train and train and retrain our drivers." She would not comment on whether the driver faced any disciplinary action.
Robert Morgan, transportation director for the Lee County School District, says this is the first time they've seen an issue with a LeeTran bus. He says it's important for the community to know the rules on the road, and that driver could have gotten a ticket if a deputy was present. "Once all the students are on the bus, the bus remains in position until all the students are seated. That's why there seems to be a delay. So if that LeeTran bus continued and hit that bus and the children aren't in their seats, if an accident occurs with them out of their seats there are more injuries," he says.