WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- The National Transportation Safety Board says the Riverside Community School District (IA) should not have allowed a bus driver involved in a deadly 2017 school bus fire to be behind the wheel.
Father of 16-year-old that died in 2017 school bus fire, Glen Klindt, says school officials should resign after the NTSB finds the district knew the driver wasn't physically fit to evacuate a bus. (Source: Gray DC)
Tuesday, the NTSB met to review its final findings on a on December 12th, 2017 bus fire that killed 16-year-old student Megan Klindt, and 74-year-old driver Donnie Hendricks.
The NTSB says drugs, alcohol, and the bus condition were not factors.
The NTSB says Hendricks’ lower back problem which prevented him from evacuating the bus, and the report says the school district, principal, and transportation supervisor knew about the driver's condition.
NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said, “I think it’s accurate that they did not perform their oversight responsibilities.”
Sumwalt wanted to make sure the final report points a finger at the Riverside Community School District.
He said, “It sends a message that we’re not going to just call out a driver that is no longer alive, we’re going to look at the entire system and see where those systemic breakdowns occurred.”
Megan's mother and father sat in the NTSB boardroom as the findings were discussed. Megan's father, Glen Klindt, says he wants resignations from the Riverside Community School District superintendent, the school’s principal, and transportation supervisor.
Klindt said, “They got to live with the guilt that they didn’t do their job. So, I just hope, down the road, that this stuff all gets done to where it’s supposed to and we got people we can trust that are out there hauling our children up and down the road.”
The NTSB report doesn’t say why Hendricks backed into the ditch but says the fire started in the engine’s turbocharger as Hendricks tried, multiple times, to accelerate while the tailpipe was blocked.
The report also says Megan Klindt tried to help Hendricks get out of the bus once the fire started, but was quickly overcome by the smoke and gasses from the engine fire.
WOWT has reached out to the Riverside Community School District for comment, and is waiting to hear back.
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