Bus driver fac­ing charges


A 12-year-old girl from Lower Is­land Cove who suf­fered a frac­tured skull and other in­juries dur­ing a bus ac­ci­dent on March 29 has had her world turned up­side down, says the girl’s mother.

“Our big­gest pri­or­ity is to get her back to where she was Tues­day morn­ing when she left me. She was happy-go-lucky. When she came back, our world was turned bot­tom up,” Judy LeShane told The Com­pass on Fri­day, April 8.

Renee LeShane was one of 33 ju­nior high stu­dents aboard the school bus when it col­lided with a car in Old Per­li­can. The stu­dents at­tend Bac­calieu Col­le­giate.

Po­lice say the driver —Ran­dolph Coish, 51, of Baie de Verde — did not have a valid driver’s li­cence, and is fac­ing two charges un­der the High­way Traf­fic Act.

Both charges are sum­mary of­fences, with fines as penal­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to the East­ern School District, the bus had stopped at a stop sign and was pro­ceed­ing through an in­ter­sec­tion when it col­lided with the car.

The car was sub­stan­tially dam­aged, while the bus had dam­age to the bumper and cross­ing arm.

The driver and the pri­vate op­er­a­tor, Coish Bus Con­trac­tors, de­cided to con­tinue on with the route, in which chil­dren were be­ing brought home from school at the end of the day.

The stu­dents were ei­ther home, or on the way home, when the district was in­formed.

Five stu­dents have re­ported in­juries, and up to Fri­day, Renee and an­other stu­dent, 13-year-old Clif­ford White of Old Per­li­can, had not re­turned to school.

“ This is ridicu­lous,” said An­nette White, Clif­ford’s mother. She said her son has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pain in his neck and back, and has been en­dur­ing mus­cle spasms.

White said her son told her the driver did not stop at the stop sign, and did not check on the stu­dents af­ter the ac­ci­dent.

“I phoned the school. They had no idea of it un­til I called them. (The driver) should have stayed on the scene. He should have checked on the chil­dren and called the school,” said White.

Ac­cord­ing to the school board, the driver has been taken off the route, pend­ing the fi­nal out­come of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Scott Coish, op­er­a­tor of Coish Bus Con­trac­tors and the driver’s brother, said in more than 30 years of op­er­a­tion, there hasn’t been an ac­ci­dent un­til now.

“ He didn’t see the car com­ing,” Coish said of the col­li­sion.

He said his brother has driven buses off and on for 25 years.

Coish said the dam­age to the bus was min­i­mal and no one seemed in­jured, so the de­ci­sion was made to con­tinue.

He said the school board and prin­ci­pal were not in­volved in that de­ci­sion.

Judy LeShane said emer­gency per­son­nel should have im­me­di­ately been sum­moned.

“ They were only sec­onds away from the am­bu­lance ser­vice,” LeShane said.

LeShane said her con­fi­dence in the bus­ing sys­tem has been shaken by the in­ci­dent.

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