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.