M-P bus driver investigated

Parent records video of erratic driving

By Dean Shipley - dshipley@civitasmedia.com

An investigation has been launched at Madison-Plains schools after a parent recorded cell phone video of alleged erratic driving by a senior citizen bus driver.

The video, published by Columbus media outlets, shows the driver stopping without putting on lights, as well as running off the side of the road.

The driver in question, who is reportedly 87 years old, has served the district for 46 years — 39 of them as a driver, according to Superintendent Tim Dettwiller. She works as a substitute bus driver.

Dettwiller said the driver, who remains unnamed, has been a district dedication award winner in the past, and there have been few recorded incidents on her bus.

Parent Tiphany Chaffin supplied the footage to the district this week after she followed the bus. She reportedly said she doesn’t want to see the elderly woman behind the wheel of another school bus.

Dettwiller said Wednesday school officials are investigating the footage to determine if the driver is the individual Chaffin believes it to be.

If that is the case, Dettwiller said the course of action to follow up may include additional training, discipline or termination.

Dettwiller said if she is qualified to drive a bus and does pass her physical exam, he does not want to have an age discrimination issue.

“Until someone tells me she can’t, she’s qualified to drive,” he said.

Before he releases the findings of the investigation — which he expects to be Friday — Dettwiller said he has contractual obligations to discuss it with the employees’ association before he makes comment.

“We have to follow the rules of the contract in particular,” he said.

In a release earlier this week, Dettwiller said, “All of our employees also have a right to due process. We are conducting an investigation and are committed to responding lawfully and appropriately.”

Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.

Parent records video of erratic driving

By Dean Shipley