School Bus Driver from Fridley Texted on the Job, Charges Allege
Ramsey County prosecutors say the Fridley resident was preoccupied with her cell phone while transporting St. Paul students, the Star Tribune reported.
A Fridley woman who works as a school bus driver is facing charges in Ramsey County for texting while operating a bus with students aboard, the Star Tribune reported Thursday. The newspaper gave this summary of the criminal complaint:
On Nov. 4 [of 2011, defendant Jatira D.] Sanders allegedly took out her cellphone and began texting as soon as she stopped the bus and opened the door to let students off. A photograph taken by a student showed that the bus' stop arm was deployed and amber warning lights were on. The student who took the photo told a State Patrol investigator that Sanders did not watch students disembark.
On Nov. 7, [2011,] Sanders allegedly texted while stopped at a red light. A student told the investigator that Sanders was "always on the phone," and that students "frequently had to tell defendant, 'The light has changed, you can go now,'" the complaint said.
Sanders' employer, Sunburst Transportation of Minneapolis, also employs its own on-board surveillance cameras. "Recordings also can be used to disprove fraudulent claims against drivers or riders," the company's website states.
According to the Star Tribune, Sanders twice pled guilty in recent months to driving without insurance —among other violations that go back to 2006.
Get That Gun
In a separate incident in November, a Fridley-based school bus company fired a driver who police said had pulled over his bus and asked a student to retrieve what turned out to be a gun that had been lying on the side of the road.
That company, Metropolitan Transportation Network, says on its website that discipline for drivers who have more than one driving violation per year can include termination.
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