Pictures of a Connecticut bus driver Paul Pixley nodding off in the rear-view mirror were taken by kids riding on his bus, the images circulating to several parents, who told their kids to “get off at the next stop.”
The young passengers heeded the advice and exited the bus at the very next stop. Parents called the Shelton police, telling them about a bus driver passing out behind the wheel and driving erratically with children on the bus.
When the police pulled Pixley over, none of the 30 student passengers were on board. The video footage taken from the bus showed the 55-year-old bus driver nodding off. At one point, a student yelled at him to wake him up. Pixley yelled back, “I’m not sleeping.”
The video provided police with the evidence needed to charge Pixby. He was arrested on 30 counts of risk of injury to a minor, second-degree breach of the peace, second-degree reckless endangerment and reckless driving.
The manager of the bus company that employs Pixley was on the scene to drive the bus back to the bus lot. He reported that nine days before this incident, Pixley had fallen asleep behind the wheel of the bus and rolled backward into a car while at an intersection.
Pixley is being held on a $75,000 bond.
Deborah Devillez was among 15 employees who received the award this year, which honors employees who have displayed an outstanding commitment to safety in addition to exhibiting leadership in their communities.
"I'm thrilled, it means a lot to me that someone would take the time out to see that I deserved that award," DeVillez said, who has driven for STA at its Griswold Terminal for 20 years and drives a 77-passenger bus.
"I nominated her because she keeps my terminals in top par as far as safety goes," Griswold Terminal Manager Louis Schuler said. “Honestly, that's a lot of responsibility and she does it very well.”
For the past 10 years, DeVillez has also helped train new bus drivers for the Griswold terminal.
"We all want to be appreciated and that's a very nice way to show that you are by getting an award like that," she said, adding that she "fell in love with the kids and I didn't want anyone else driving them, so here I stay."
DeVillez became a school bus driver when her daughter started school and soon discovered she had found her calling.
DeVillez is also the leader of the company's safety committee at the Griswold terminal and makes sure everyone holds to high standards.
She could not attend the award ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina, but she knows that her picture will be placed on the 'Wall of Fame.' As for the future, DeVillez said she will continue to strive to be the best bus driver possible.
A Tennessee school board will likely extend its contract another year with Durham School Services, the company that provided school bus services in the Chattanooga school bus crash.
According to the Hamilton County school board, it would be almost impossible to find a new contractor before the coming school year.
School board member Rhonda Thurman said few companies could handle Hamilton County’s system of about 20,000 students riding buses.
Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Lee McDade added that finding another bus service would take months and Durham has made safety strides since the crash that killed six children.
Durham School Services has been under a four-year contract with Hamilton County Schools since 2013.
A Pennsylvania motorist who led police on a high-speed chase now faces more serious charges after witnesses said he raced past a school bus that was letting off students.
Pocono Mountain Regional Police said they tried to pull 20-year-old Marcus Anastasiaris over for speeding, but lost sight of him when he accelerated to 100 mph.
Police eventually found him and issued summary traffic citations.
Witnesses later told police they saw Anastasiaris’s red Audi drive onto the shoulder, passing a school bus on the door side as children were exiting. No one was hurt.
Anastasiaris has been charged with illegally overtaking a school bus, reckless endangerment and other offenses.