Miami Public Schools bus driver Eletha D. Perry reportedly crashed a bus full of children into three parked vehicles while driving her regular route on April 17. No injuries were reported and no charges have been filed.
Perry, 55, received a citation for driving without a proper license and inattentive driving. The first citation will reportedly be withdrawn because her issue with a driver’s license has since been resolved.
According to the collision report, the crash occurred on East Central Avenue last Monday afternoon. Perry was reportedly traveling east in a 2013 Blue Bird school bus when she leaned over to adjust the radio.
While occupoied with the radio, Perry reportedly drove off the roadway and struck a parked Jeep owned by Stace Sunby of Miami, and then a Nissan Murano owned by Bradley Mitchell, also of Miami. The crash caused considerable damage to both vehicles and its impact pushed Mitchell’s Nissan into a Chevrolet truck, damaging its tailgate. The owner of the Chevrolet was not named in the report.
At the time of the crash, 20 school children were aboard the bus which was on a route to deliver them home from school. Perry allegedly told police that she had leaned over to adjust her radio and had not noticed that she was driving off the roadway.
Investigators assessed the scene and found no indicators that the bus driver was under the influence or experiencing medical distress. No charges have been filed against Perry and she was allowed to continue driving on her route and deliver the students to their homes.
Witnesses who were at the scene reportedly told police that the students saw Perry use her cell phone and she may have run a red light. Several parents were reportedly upset that Perry was allowed to continue driving the bus after the crash, saying that the district should have erred on the side of safety and found a substitute to complete the route.
Some parents said their children have told them that Perry texts while driving, has fallen asleep behind the wheel, and struck mailboxes. Misty McDowell, the mother of an 8-year-old student, told the press that she was “outraged” Perry was allowed to continue on her route before parents were informed of the incident. She plans to take her child off the bus for the rest of the school year.
Miami Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Hogan told news sources that there have been no first-hand reports of any improper driving by Perry, only second-hand accounts. He confirmed that Perry has hit a mailbox in a turnaround and that the incident was reported to the district.
Issues with school personnel are not open to the public and he could not disclose if Perry had been alcohol and drug tested after the incident, but he did say that district policy requires a driver to be tested after any type of accident. The superintendent said he understood the parents’ concern regarding the incident and told the press that another driver is working on the route until the investigation is completed.