LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) – Melissa Edwards is one of several parents in Livingston County who will be driving their child to school after a video appears to show their bus driver dozing off at the wheel.
“I don’t want my kids in a serious car accident because the driver is falling asleep,” she said.
That driver, and the Prairie Central School District, are facing a lot of heat from families. They’re demanding something be done about it.
“It definitely looks like he’s nodding off and trying to keep his eyes open,” Brittni Gerdis said.
“You can tell that his window is open so that cold air is blowing in his face,” Edwards said.
“Definitely shouldn’t be driving a bus when he’s doing that,” Matt McCullough said.
McCullough came across the clip and posted it on Facebook. It’s been seen by thousands, and sent concerned parents like him straight to the Prairie Central School District Administration.
“I’m seeing videos of my child’s bus driver falling asleep on the way to school this morning and I’m wondering what’s being done about it,” he said in a call with a transportation employee. The employee on the other line said it would be “handled.”
“I said, ‘so, he won’t be driving my children back from school today or picking them up in the morning, right?’ [She said]: ‘Oh no, he’s still driving. He’s still driving,'” McCullough said.
Mason Farris, a junior high student, took the video on Friday. Some parents said the driver still picked up and dropped their kids off Wednesday.
“I’ve been feeling unsafe since the beginning of this school year,” Farris said.
He said he’s gotten more worried since he first noticed the problem months ago.
“When he dozes off, he tends to speed up. When he wakes up, he slows down again,” Farris said.
Superintendent Paula Crane said in a statement student safety is a top priority, and this employee won’t be driving until a full review is completed. In a follow up email, she said there’s many rumors going around, and she feels bad for the driver – saying he’s “a really nice person.”
Crews knocked on his door and he said he had no comment.
“It’s not just the children, it’s every vehicle he drives by, every pedestrian that walks past his bus. Any of them could be injured,” Edwards said.
Read the full statement below.
Student safety is a top priority at Prairie Central and we appreciate and value the work of our drivers. To ensure the safety of everyone, this employee will not be driving until a full review is completed.Superintendent Paula Crane
I know there have been MANY rumors going around, and I feel bad for this employee. He’s a really nice person, and certainly no one deserves to be treated like this.Superintendent Paula Crane
UPDATE: Crane sent out a letter to families Thursday. Read it below.
As many of you know, there is a video circulating of a Prairie Central bus driver who is accused of driving while drowsy. The safety of our children comes first, and we have investigated the situation and have taken measures to ensure the students continue to have safe transportation to and from school. At this time, the driver has been assigned an alternate role in the transportation department. We have been made aware of a plethora of rumors circulating about this situation and this employee. Understanding that we cannot control what is posted on social media or communicated to news stations, we ask for grace as we continue to make decisions based upon the verifiable information information that is being collected.Superintendent Paula Crane