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Columbia bus driver fired after video surfaces showing reckless driving

COLUMBIA, MO (KMIZ)

A bus driver has been fired after a Columbia Public Schools parent recorded a video of a school bus swerving in and out of lanes on Highway 63 on Tuesday evening.

Lizzandra Abshier said she was terrified while driving on Highway 63 as a CPS school bus almost hit her multiple times. Abshier said she was driving in the car with her children and a school bus was swerving in and out of lanes recklessly, almost hitting vehicles.

"There was literally a school bus in front of us swerving side to side, it wasn't little swerves, like the video shows, but in the beginning, it was a lot worse. I mean it was like something you'd see in a movie," Abshier said.

Abshier said she was finally able to access her phone to record how the bus driver was driving. When she looked into the bus she said the driver was slumped over and Abshier honked to get her to become alert again.

Abshier said she saw at least one child on the bus at the time of the incident. She decided to follow the bus on the rest of its route to ensure nothing else dangerous happened.

Student Transportation of America, which provides bus services under contract with CPS, said in a statement that the driver had been fired.

"The safety of the students we transport is our highest priority, and it has always been the policy of Student Transportation of America to adhere to the highest safety standards in each and every aspect of our operations," the company said. "Yesterday’s video footage of one of our Columbia buses clearly showed that the driver failed to meet those standards."

Abshier said the driver was backing up the bus as she dropped off the one child on the bus at his stop.

Ralphie Yeps, a CPS parent with a student who attends Cedar Ridge Elementary School, said she's had multiple issues with this same driver taking her child to school. Yeps said her daughter was not on the bus that day because of a dentist appointment, but she cringed and was in disbelief watching the video realizing it was the same driver.

"She is consistently late or there is a rare time here and there where she comes before the time we were given by school," Yeps said. "There has been about four or five times that she went down the street, came back up and didn’t drop my daughter off before leaving the street even with someone standing out in the driveway waiting for her."

Yeps said the driver has blamed her child for not speaking up for the missed stops.

Many people saw Abshier's post on social media and alerted CPS and Student Transportation of America. Abshier said she also called STA, but was unable to get an answer. STA employees contacted Abshier providing her with STA official's contact information. She said after calling Wednesday she was informed that the driver had been fired.

Yeps and Abshier both said they were relieved and happy when they found out the driver had been fired because they're concerned for the safety of their children.

Yep and Abshier say CPS has not contacted them about the driver and the video.

CPS spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said the district was made aware of the video Tuesday and alerted STA. The district said the drivers' employer, STA, is responsible for investigations and discipline.

Columbia Public Schools / Education / News / Top Stories
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Victoria Bragg

Victoria Bragg joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in October 2020.

She is a graduate of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas and is a Dallas native.

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