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NBC 10 I-Team: Bus driver, monitor fired following crashes, parent complaints

One employee was caught on camera by a parent, eating a snack when he was supposed to be working as a bus monitor. Parents also told NBC 10 they saw that same employee texting during pick-ups and drop offs. (Submitted photos)

A bus driver and bus monitor working in North Providence have been fired following at least three accidents, missed drop offs and numerous other complaints from parents, the NBC 10 I-Team has learned.

One of the employees was caught on camera by a parent, eating a snack when he was supposed to be working as a bus monitor. Parents also told NBC 10 they saw that same employee texting during pick-ups and drop offs.

Durham School Services, the company that provides school bus service in North Providence, confirmed that monitor, as well as a bus driver, were both terminated. A company spokesperson also said texting during a shift was a violation of company policy.

A company representative also apologized to parents and school officials during a special School Committee meeting on Thursday evening.

Kate Walden, a Durham spokesperson, said all buses in North Providence now have GPS, and surveillance cameras on board are now functional. Parents had complained that the cameras weren’t working earlier this month.

Walden said Durham also put two new managers in place to help improve service in North Providence going forward.

North Providence contracted with Durham in 2017 after years of using another company, and parents said it’s been a bumpy road so far.

Moms and dads told the NBC 10 I-Team problems include students dropped off at school more than an hour late, children driven into the neighboring town of Lincoln by mistake, and at least three crashes involving school buses.

Kristine Munroe said her car was totaled in an accident on September 6th inside the parking lot of the Shorewood Apartments. Munroe said the bus driver attempted to make a three-point turn, backing into her car and another vehicle in the process.

“This act of carelessness and poor training from the town of North Providence has severely impacted our family,” Munroe said in an email, noting that the family is now struggling to buy another car.

In another accident on Sept. 13, a school bus caused visible damage, as seen in crash photos taken by officers on the scene. The bus, with students on board, struck a Nissan on Douglas Avenue. One student on the bus complained of minor injuries and was picked up by his parents. Both drivers told North Providence police they believed the other was at fault.

Another accident, on Sept.11, appears minor. A school bus ripped off the side mirror of another car.

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