KHQ Special Report: Who's Behind The Wheel? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

KHQ Special Report: Who's Behind The Wheel?

SPOKANE, Wash. - Every morning, thousands of parents in the Inland Northwest drop their children off at the local bus stop, trusting that the bus driver will transport their precious cargo to school safely. While this is exactly what happens the majority of the time, there are unfortunate exceptions.

A few years ago, running a red light nearly put the brakes on one man's career when Spokane's red light cameras caught a school bus driver barreling through an intersection. Police believed it was the first school bus they'd seen running a red since the City installed the cameras.

In the years since, drivers have kept fairly clean records. A public records request found only 24 tickets issued to drivers within Spokane Public Schools between January 1, 2010 and January 7, 2013. That's a small amount considering 219 drivers are currently behind the wheel.

The records show no one was cited for drinking or driving.

But KHQ did find other citations likely issued while driving their personal vehicles including like failure to yield, following too closely, and driving too fast for conditions.

Perhaps the most troubling finds were the criminal offenses including one driver who racked up everything from weapons charges to theft and malicious mischief.

Incidents like this underscore the importance of thorough background checks on bus drivers. So how much involvement does the district have in this process? You might be surprised to find: none.

In an email to KHQ, Spokane Public Schools Spokesperson Terren Roloff wrote "We aren't involved in the vetting process at all."

The district leaves that up to the busing company, Durham School Services, which they've contracted with for more than four years.

Durham School Services' Statement to KHQ:

Durham School Services' priority is the safe transportation of the students we serve. We have been a partner of the Spokane Public Schools for 4½ years and have utilized a screening process for all driver applicants. This process meets or exceeds all state and federal guidelines currently in place for school bus drivers. As part of this applicant process, criminal background checks and driving histories are obtained, and drug/alcohol testing is conducted. Driver qualifications can't be comprehensively summarized in this email on such short notice, but they do include:

  • At least 21 years of age with a valid driver's license for at least 3 years
  • Must meet physical and medical requirements
  • No DUIs, sexual offenses or violent offenses in past 10 years (school district standards may be more stringent)
  • No more than two moving violations in past 3 years (one violation of at least 16 mph over the limit disqualifies applicant)
  • No more than one at-fault accident in past 3 years
  • No major motor vehicle violations in past 3 years
  • The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction monitors driving records, and all bus drivers must sign off on an annual verification of their driving record

In the meantime, officials also point out that bus drivers are now acutely aware of the presence of traffic cameras on their routes, which they hope will curb dangerous driving habits.

Keep in mind, officials with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) also regularly monitors driving records. Plus all bus drivers must sign off on an annual verification of their driving record.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • "My son was just gone": mother of kidnapped baby speaks out about online danger

    "My son was just gone": mother of kidnapped baby speaks out about online danger

    Tuesday, November 21 2017 12:30 AM EST2017-11-21 05:30:18 GMT
    Police say Fern Littlecalf kidnapped a babyPolice say Fern Littlecalf kidnapped a baby

    SPOKANE, Wash.- The mother of a 6-month old baby who was kidnapped as part of an elaborate online scam is speaking out, urging everyone to be careful who they meet on the internet.  Lekeisha Johnson, from Kennewick, says she thought she'd been in a relationship with a man for weeks, but then she found out that her supposed boyfriend never existed in the first place. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash.- The mother of a 6-month old baby who was kidnapped as part of an elaborate online scam is speaking out, urging everyone to be careful who they meet on the internet.  Lekeisha Johnson, from Kennewick, says she thought she'd been in a relationship with a man for weeks, but then she found out that her supposed boyfriend never existed in the first place. 

    >>
  • SUV driver crashes into De Leon Foods and then takes off

    SUV driver crashes into De Leon Foods and then takes off

    Tuesday, November 21 2017 10:20 AM EST2017-11-21 15:20:29 GMT
    Courtesy De Leon FoodsCourtesy De Leon Foods

    SPOKANE, Wash.- Spokane Police are looking for the person who crashed into De Leon Foods on Francis in north Spokane. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash.- Spokane Police are looking for the person who crashed into De Leon Foods on Francis in north Spokane. 

    >>
  • Can you prank your mom? 'The 25 pound turkey challenge'

    Can you prank your mom? 'The 25 pound turkey challenge'

    Wednesday, December 21 2016 2:36 PM EST2016-12-21 19:36:25 GMT

    KHQ.COM - Most mothers can only hope by the time their children grow up and move out of the house, they've learned all the necessary things to be a successful adult, including the basic knowledge that a turkey must be cooked in an oven, or perhaps in a smoker... NOT in a microwave. For this reason a new prank-challenge going around on Facebook is resulting in some hilarious text conversations between mothers and their grown children.

    >>

    KHQ.COM - Most mothers can only hope by the time their children grow up and move out of the house, they've learned all the necessary things to be a successful adult, including the basic knowledge that a turkey must be cooked in an oven, or perhaps in a smoker... NOT in a microwave. For this reason a new prank-challenge going around on Facebook is resulting in some hilarious text conversations between mothers and their grown children.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Do you know who these burglary/fraud/theft suspects are?

    Do you know who these burglary/fraud/theft suspects are?

    Tuesday, November 21 2017 2:16 PM EST2017-11-21 19:16:40 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office are hoping you can help them identify three men suspected of stealing a car, credit cards and other items last week.  Detectives say the credit cards were used a Walmart on E. Sprague and video surveillance shows three men leaving the store in the stolen car after the fraudulent transactions.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office are hoping you can help them identify three men suspected of stealing a car, credit cards and other items last week.  Detectives say the credit cards were used a Walmart on E. Sprague and video surveillance shows three men leaving the store in the stolen car after the fraudulent transactions.

    >>
  • Two people dead, another in serious condition in Lewiston; Detectives looking for person of interest

    Two people dead, another in serious condition in Lewiston; Detectives looking for person of interest

    Tuesday, November 21 2017 1:31 PM EST2017-11-21 18:31:18 GMT

    LEWISTON, Idaho - Detectives with the Lewiston Police Department are searching for a person of interest in a double homicide that happened early Tuesday morning.  Police found two deceased adults in a home near 6th and Preston just after 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday. A third adult victim was also found int he home with a stab wound to his back. 

    >>

    LEWISTON, Idaho - Detectives with the Lewiston Police Department are searching for a person of interest in a double homicide that happened early Tuesday morning.  Police found two deceased adults in a home near 6th and Preston just after 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday. A third adult victim was also found int he home with a stab wound to his back. 

    >>
  • CBS News fires Charlie Rose following sexual misconduct allegations

    CBS News fires Charlie Rose following sexual misconduct allegations

    Tuesday, November 21 2017 1:13 PM EST2017-11-21 18:13:48 GMT

    NEW YORK - CBS News has fired Charlie Rose after several women accused the veteran newsman of sexual misconduct. Rose has been one of three hosts of "CBS This Morning" since 2012 and is also a contributor to "60 Minutes."

    >>

    NEW YORK - CBS News has fired Charlie Rose after several women accused the veteran newsman of sexual misconduct. Rose has been one of three hosts of "CBS This Morning" since 2012 and is also a contributor to "60 Minutes."

    >>