Superintendent: Dallas Co. bus driver lied in investigation of speeding, running red light
(Source: David Blackmon)
DALLAS CO., AL (WSFA) -
A Dallas County school bus driver's punishment is being upgraded after further investigation of a video tape showing her speeding and committing other traffic violations.
The school system's superintendent originally placed the driver, who is unnamed, on paid administrative leave within an hour of seeing viewer video provided to the 12 NEWS DEFENDERS. A full investigation was promised
Wednesday, the DEFENDERS followed up on the investigation and learned that the driver is now suspended without pay because school officials learned she lied about the bus being empty at the time of the incident.
At least one student, a Dallas County High School student, was on the bus at the time of the incident. That child is said to be the nephew of the driver.
Superintendent Ron Willingham said that female bus driver told officials that no one was on the bus. Video evidence and an eye witness confirmed that was a lie.
"She's on suspension without pay for a time and we will move on from here," Willingham said. "She's been with us for seven years and just started her eight. She doesn't have a history of doing anything and like I said this doesn't excuse the situation at all," Willingham said.
The driver will remain on unpaid leave for an unknown amount of time and will have to complete a safety training course before returning. The driver has been with the system for 7 years and does not have a history of infractions.
We've seen several comments on our station's Facebook page that include outrage, concern and even backlash against the driver who recorded it, but the superintendent says he's glad it was brought to his attention.
The bus driver was captured clocking speeds up to 45 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone through downtown Selma on Monday afternoon, the first day of school. A concerned citizen recorded it from his vehicle.
Dallas County Superintendent Don Willingham says the video is disturbing to watch, adding, "I'm glad nobody was hurt and I'm glad it was brought to our attention."
"We didn't realize it was a bus driver taking their bus back after their route, because their actual bus had been at the shop getting serviced," Willingham said.
The driver continues on a path of danger, rolling right through a red light.
"She was going too fast and did a roll and stop at a red light, and even if it had been a complete stop, it's a violation to turn right on red with a school bus," Willingham said.
They are actions the superintendent say are unacceptable and do not reflect the majority of the district's 79 bus drivers.
Superintendent Willingham says his number one priority is the well being of students and to make sure school employees are not breaking laws and school policy.
Willingham says he would like to hear from anyone else who has witnessed a school bus driver speeding or violating any law.
Dallas County school officials say they would like to hear from anyone else who wants to share concerns or who witnessed a bus driver violating the law.