Scary Incident Brings New Focus on School Bus Safety

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Harrison Pirtle
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Updated: 4/23/2014 7:15 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WDEF-TV) -- There was an unnerving incident on Monday as a child was stepping off a school bus on highway 58.
The little girl was not hurt, but it led to questions from the parent about school bus procedures in Hamilton county.
They are getting a lot of study lately.

The school bus had stopped at Bayside Baptist Church Monday afternoon and Chenoa Deleguna was there to pick up her kids.

CHENOA DELAGUNA, PARENT "We were looking right at it. My oldest son got off, my daughter got off...Lexi, the smallest one..when she went to go to get off she was on the second step and he started driving away. "

Delaguna yelled at the driver who paused and then drove off.
Five year old Lexi was not hurt, but it was enough to send Ms. Delaguna to central office to complain.
She left the information and was leaving when she got the answers she sought from Ben Coulter, the head of the school transportation department.

CHENOA DELAGUNA "I was in my car, testing and emailing people ..I wasn't doing it driving...and he walked out to the car."

By this time, Coulter had had a chance to look into the incident.

CHENOA DELEGUNA "He told me he had talked to the driver..the driver admitted what happened...says he was looking behind ...Looking into his mirror at the traffic backing up."

Ben Coulter says the bus driver was a substitute and it was his first time driving the route.

BEN COULTER, SUPERVISOR OF TRANSPORTATION, HCDE "We've taken appropriate action with the driver. At this point I've done a full investigation and looked at the video..and determined what we could do better."

A school bus incident in north Georgia last week in which a child died resulted in a higher level of safety awareness at school districts, including Hamilton county.

BEN COULTER "As a precautionary to our principals...we've asked them to review all their safety procedures at their schools."

Coulter says the Monday incident did result in more awareness of school bus safety in the county.
Ms. Delaguna says she's happy that driver is not on the job.
She did get an apology from the school district.

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tvol777 - 4/23/2014 6:16 PM
0 Votes
Does that mean on his next new route he can do it again?

tvol777 - 4/23/2014 6:14 PM
0 Votes
Does that mean on his next new route he can do it again?

tvol777 - 4/23/2014 6:13 PM
0 Votes
Very glad we are not attending a funeral. No excuse should be exceptable in this incident. The man should be removed permanently from driving any child anywhere. It is hard enough to keep children in school. They should not have to worry about their transportation.
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