School bus stops under crossing arm

Durham School Services driver investigated

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Duval County school bus driver is under investigation for what witnesses said was a dangerous incident at a railroad crossing.

A woman who was near San Marco Boulevard and Gary Street on Thursday took a picture of a Durham School Services bus that was stuck underneath the railroad crossing arm. It's still unclear how the driver got into that situation.

Witnesses said the incident not only put children's lives in jeopardy, but also endangered drivers in vehicles following the bus.

"That was a pretty dangerous situation to have the kids," said Stephanie Bunting, who witnessed what happened. "I mean, when I got up there to take the picture, the bus wasn't kissing the train or anything, but it was not a safe situation."

Bunting said the bus driver didn't attempt to move the bus as it sat underneath the crossing arm. Bunting was with her husband, Robert, at the time, and he said the crossing arm was stuck on top of the bus, creating another traffic danger.

"How does an accident occur like that when you have lights flaring and saying stop? You have lines that say stop at this point," Robert Bunting said.

While the railroad crossing was stuck on top of the bus, the Buntings said another driver came behind the bus and blew through the railroad tracks, just barely missing the train by a few seconds.

The Buntings said the driver of the car likely never knew a train was coming because the railroad arm was resting on top of the bus.

"And just six seconds later, the train came through," Stephanie Bunting said.

A Duval County Public Schools spokeswoman issued a statement Friday, saying, "Durham School Services has informed us that an investigation is underway, and in accordance with standard procedures, the driver will be pulled, pending an outcome of the investigation."

Parents who've seen the picture are calling for disciplinary action.

"Oh my goodness," parent Rosemary Haskins said when she saw the photo. "You know what? Action should be taken. The driver should be not fired, but I think should be in trouble."

"When you trust your kids to the education system, you hope they are taking care of them and paying attention to the traffic rules," parent Erica Kinsey said.

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