Wednesday May 4, 2016
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I know that this should go in the "schools" thread, but I want as many people as possible to see it, because I am OUTRAGED!
This afternoon, I was driving to the Casino to meet my husband for a bite to eat. Just past Main Street, I noticed one of the smaller, white Payson Unified School district busses. I noticed it because it seemed to be going very fast for being on Beeline, and also because after every stop, it took off like a jackrabbit. I could see that it was full of kids. I was in the lane to the left and behind it. I wanted a look at the driver so that I could describe them when I called in to the school district. Just past Circle K South, I really stepped on it to try to catch up and see the driver, but I could not catch up. Just past Mandarin House, I realized that I was going awfully fast and looked at my speedometer, I was approaching 70!! And the bus was still pulling away from me quite rapidly in a 45 mile per hour zone. I almost had a heart attack to see how fast I was going and immediately slowed down. All I could think was that if I had a kid on that bus, I would have done whatever I needed to do to pull in front of it, make it stop and call the police, after I got my kid off the bus.
I got into the Casino and got the district phone number. The woman that I spoke with actually asked me if I was sure it was a PAYSON bus, as "many of the districts have the smaller white busses". Umm, pretty sure in light of the fact that it had PAYSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT emblazoned down the side. She asked me to hold and she would transfer me to the Transportation department. Well, instead of transferring me and allowing me to speak with them, she left me on hold for a good solid 2 1/2 minutes while she talked to them. She then came back on the line with several excuses. I had initially said that I thought the driver was a woman, as from what I could see of the profile, the person appeared to have a ponytail. The woman on the phone said that they knew who the driver was, but it wasn't a regular bus driver and not a woman. I was then told that the Superintendant and his secretary were both gone for the day; at 4:15 on a Friday? I was told that she would take my name and number and the Superintendant would get back to me Monday. Which I was delighted to hear. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS ON THAT BUS AND WITH THAT DRIVER NOW???
Kim; Unless there was a life-threatening emergency on that bus ( which I doubt !) there is no
excuse for breaking the law and endangering children. The driver should be fired. Please tell the Superintendent . I do not know about this District, but the buses in my former bus had two-way radios. We could contact any bus from Transportation Department. If that bus had two-way communication and was not contacted, someone else needs to have their rear in a sling.
Remember awhile back when I posted about the driver doing 85 mph on the Beeline down on the Reservation near Mesa ? I followed it all the way to the Saguaro crossover where she turned around and went back towards Mesa. I called the school from the overpass and was told the reason the driver turned around was she didn't have enough gas to get to Payson.
My response to the woman on the phone was "hell no not driving 85mph."
So that bus had a radio or phone in it. There were kids in the bus as some were standing in the aisle as I went by. Was trying to see the driver but she had a styrofoam cup at the side of her face so I couldn't see her. Driving one handed, with some kind of drink in your hand at 85 mph with a bus load of kids.
I went to the transportation office and to see Casey OBrien the next day. Found out it was a teacher driving but was not given a name. O'Brien didn't know where they had been !
Did you know anyone with a regular drivers license can drive one of those vans? They do not have to have a CDL like truck drivers or any special training. Just jump in and put the pedal to the medal.
There was another person in the car with me so I do have a witness to the fact.
I went back to find my post about the driver doing 85 MPH. last year.
It is under Community discussions. School bus drivers. there are 8 comments. The date was in Aug. It will take a while to get back to it.
Are the busses still contracted out or does the school own them now?
What I was told is that the person driving this bus was not a "regular" bus driver. I also got the impression, I may be mistaken, that the woman I spoke with on the phone was trying to protect the person driving the bus. I was also told that I would be transferred to the transportation department, however, the woman was off line for a good couple of minutes and she came back on the line with an explanation, rather than transferring me and letting me speak with the transportation department. Now, I am not trying to sound elitist, but I did not want to speak to the secretary that answers the phone, I wanted to speak with someone who could do somehting.
I fully intend to call the Superintendent on Monday.
When I went to see O'brien I did not make an appt. I walked in to the bldg. two women were sitting at desks in the outer office. I said I wanted to see him and the one said she would see if he was in his office. I followed her as I knew he didn't have an escape door, so she couldn't come back and tell me he wasn't there.
Don't hold your breath waiting to get him on the phone.
Oops forgot we have a new man in office. Maybe he has a better attitude.
Maybe you should get it on the agenda for the next school board meeting about the bus driver.
There are a lot of things wrong with the way the transportation dept. for the school is run.
The way they drive in town, where they let the kids off. Like at where the bus pulls into a church parking lot no lights flashing or anything and lets kids out. Then they have to get across the intersection with no protection. Some blind person must have been sticking pins in a map to lay out the routes and where to let kids out.
The person driving the smaller white bus would probably not be a bus driver. Most likely a teacher, extracurricular sponsor, or coach. If I remember from Pat's post awhile back, the culprit was an extracurricular/co-curricular sponsor who happened to be a teacher.
I was told the female driving the bus I followed was a very good teacher.
Maybe teachers should teach and leave the driving to a qualified bus driver.
By qualified I mean, have a CDL and be a non drug user.
About 15 yrs. ago a truck driver in Tempe was fired from a Ready mix plant because he failed his random drug test. Two weeks later he was driving a school bus in Payson. Don't know if the bus drivers here have random drug tests or not but if they don't they should. They should be tested before ever being hired.
I received a phone call yesterday morning from a person who has authority over this situation. He detailed the actions taken and to be taken in future to ensure this does not happen again.
Tim, thank you for your post. You are indeed correct; the driver is a coach.
I assured the caller that I would be much more aware in the future of school vehicles and how they are driven, and that I would have no compunctions about filing complaints again. Although, should something such as this come to my attention again, it will not begin with a simple call to the District Office to talk to a secretary, but rather with a call to DPS, and I will go UP from there.
I reminded my caller of the fact that very recently a PROFESSIONAL driver lost control of his truck on Highway 87 and created havoc for far too many people. And, I believe that just in the last months, there have been a couple of lives lost, as well as many more adversely affected, by bad driving decisions on Highway 87. Furthermore, the curves are treacherous, and somebody, especially a Coach who I would guess has little experience driving a vehicle of that size, could easily be overmatched by an oversized vehicle.
I told my caller that I would drop it for now, but that all need to be aware that this is a small town with many eyes, and that in many ways, the kids on those school buses belong to all of us.
The driver was mentally under matched. Size of the driver has nothing to do with it.
I am 5' 1'' and have driven a dump truck in Pine. A cattle truck with 4 bulls fighting in the back of it thru the traffic in Mesa, and Tempe to Phx. stockyard. A motor home towing a 28 ft boat and trailer from Mesa to Roosevelt Lake and didn't have a problem. I also backed all of them up to park in one try. Never under estimate a small woman. (:
I am sure if you reported it to DPS they would tell you they have to see the speeding vehicle and clock the speed.
Hang in there. If more people reported buses things may change but I wouldn't bet on it.
I reported the driver that was parking in the church parking lot last year and it is still happening.
Pat, you obviously don't remember meeting me or you would never have assumed that I meant the driver was not big enough, or that the vehicle was too big.
I got ya beat on size...I am 4'10", and I don't have the space or the time to enumerate the oversize vehicles that I have driven without mishap.
The point that I was trying to make is that the average person does not have the experience to drive a vehicle that is larger than they are accustomed to, while dealing with a busload of screaming kids on hilly, mountain roads. Professional drivers lose control of their vehicles all the time. It may be caused by shifting loads, inattention, sleepiness, speed, or a variety of other factors.
As far as DPS disregarding a complaint, they may be restricted from issuing a citation without them personally observing the violation, but a citizen calling a complaint in would at least put them on alert to be on the lookout.
Be assured that I have no problems with reporting things that I think are wrong.
I don't remember meeting you, give me a clue.
Sorry I read your post wrong. Usually if I am going to post an answer I read the post more than once. I am so upset over the bus drivers didn't do it.
I still think he was mentally undermatched.
Women are better drivers no matter what thier size.
Pat, we met at the yard sale over in Stone Creek. You thought that I recognized your voice. But, I had met you previously, years ago!! Guess I'm not that memorable!! HA!!
I see people I have known for years and forget thier names and where I met them. The mind is the first to go. And mine done went.
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