I-TEAM: JTA bus driver fired after deadly accident was let go once before

Records show Jean Silney struck 2 people, including woman who died Saturday

Police say Jeanie Rozar's arm was stuck in the door of Jean Silney's JTA bus; the bus then ran over and killed Rozar.

MAYPORT, Fla. – After a woman was killed over the weekend while getting off a Jacksonville Transportation Authority bus in Mayport, the driver of the bus, whose personnel file shows he had previously hit a bicyclist, was terminated.

It wasn't the first time the JTA fired  Jean Silney.

Following an internal administrative review of Saturday's deadly accident, Silney was fired for violating six rules in JTA's code of conduct.

According to JTA, the specific violations were:

  • Failure to follow Standard Operating Procedure.
  • Operators must devote full attention to the proper performance of their duties.
  • Be constantly alert for anything that could injure someone.
  • Don’t move until operators are sure no one is boarding or getting off.
  • Displaying conduct unbecoming of an operator.

Silney had worked with JTA since 2007, according to his personnel file obtained Tuesday by the I-TEAM. The incidents in his personnel file with JTA include:

2008: Written up for not wearing a seat belt
2011: Being rude to a passenger
2012: A passenger fell while boarding the bus and injured knee. Silney had not lowered the bus kneel.
2013: Silney struck a bicyclist in a crosswalk, knocking him off the bike, but didn’t run him over.
2014: Recognized for safe driving
2016: Reprimanded for arguing with a passenger
2018: Silney was terminated Dec. 20 for running too early (he returned to the bus yard about 25 minutes early at the end of the night) and nearly running over the foot of a supervisor who confronted him about it. By Jan. 16, 2019, a grievance was filed and he was rehired "with a heavy suspension." 

WATCH: I-TEAM looks into fired JTA driver's professional records

The most recent incident was Saturday afternoon when police said a woman died after being run over by the bus. According to witnesses, Jeanie Rozar, 50, was getting off the bus when her arm got stuck in the door and ended up entangled in the bus’ tire.  

Loved ones said Rozar had a daughter and worked at Safe Harbor Seafood in Mayport. 

Her mother, Lana Long, told News4Jax that she and Rozar's 12-year-old daughter are in shock.

"I can't believe this happened," Long said. "I don't know what went wrong the other day, but something did."

She said she was justice for her daughter and when asked whether there was anything she wanted the bus driver to know, Long said, "Bring my daughter back please."

Rozar's family has retained an attorney.

On Tuesday, attorney Finley Williams with the Law Offices of John M. Phillips, who represents Silney, told the I-TEAM that his client is sympathetic to the family released the following statement on Silney's behalf:

"His family and our office express sincere condolences to Ms. Rozar’s family. Mr. Silney retired from the Navy in 2006 and has lived in Jacksonville ever since. He has been a loyal employee of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority for almost 12 years. Although Mr. Silney disagrees with the statements issued by JTA, he has and will continue to fully cooperate with the JSO's and JTA’s investigation. He is withholding further comment until those investigations conclude."

JTA said that it is not commenting further on any details related to Saturday's accident until the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has completed its investigation. 

Before this weekend, records show there had been four accidents involving JTA buses and pedestrians since 2017.



About the Authors:

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.

Reports weekdays and anchors The Morning Show on Saturdays and Sundays