National media outlets have been airing harrowing cellphone video taken by a student on a Texas school bus as a train hurtles past. The bus driver has been fired as a result.
A statement from Klein ISD north of Houston confirmed that a school bus was transporting 42 students to Klein Oak High School on Feb. 10 when the bus driver just barely pulled the vehicle through a railroad crossing as the oncoming train approached.
The video, shot by a student at the rear of the bus shows, the speeding train just feet from the rear emergency exit. The student reportedly posted the graphic video to social media, where school administrators saw it.
Upon completing the route, the bus driver said that the students on board were too loud for the bus to be driven safely. But a Klein ISD suspended the driver pending an internal investigation. It soon uncovered that the 22-year veteran “did not follow standard procedures when crossing the railroad track with the train coming in the distance.”
The driver has since been fired, and a district spokeswoman told STN that the Klein ISD police department is also investigating the incident to determine if charges should be filed.
Judy Rimato, associate superintendent for communications and planning, added that the district was already experiencing a driver shortage before the incident resulted in the veteran driver’s dismissal.
She also outlined the standard procedure for bus drivers to follow when approaching railroad crossings:
The standard procedure is for the driver to activate the emergency flashers as they approach the crossing. They then come to a complete stop not less than 15 feet or more than 50 feet from the rails nearest the front of the bus, place the transmission in neutral and set the service brake. Next they open the door and the driver’s side window and look and listen in both directions along the track for approaching trains. After carefully checking both directions, the driver releases the service brake, puts the bus in drive and proceeds across the track after ensuring there is adequate room on the other side of the tracks for the entire bus.