Lafayette

Jul 5, 2011 10:44 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP

School bus driver's future to be decided

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The Lafayette Parish School Board will meet in a special board meeting Wednesday to decide whether to uphold the termination of the bus driver involved in the March accident that killed 6-year-old La'Derion Miller.
The driver, Harold Thibeaux, is a 23-year veteran bus driver with the school system.
Thibeaux was distracted by another child while La'Derion Miller and his cousin attempted to catch the bus on Duhon Road in Youngsville just before sunrise on March 14, according to a Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office accident report released March 28.
La'Derion somehow became caught on the outside of the bus and was dragged about 20 feet before his body was released, the report stated. The bus' front tire ran over the boy, crushing the left side of his body, according to the report.
How the boy became caught on the outside of the bus is unknown, law enforcement officials have said.
Thibeaux was not cited and investigators found no evidence of traffic or criminal violations, officials have said.
Wrongful death lawsuits filed by both of the boys' parents against Thibeaux and the School Board are pending in district court.
Thibeaux was placed on leave with pay pending the outcome of separate investigations by both the Sheriff's Office and the school system.
In his 23 years with the system, Thibeaux had been suspended only once - in May 2009 for dropping a student off at the wrong location.
According to state tenure laws, bus drivers may be terminated for "willful neglect of duty, or incompetence, or immorality, or drunkenness while on duty, or failure to comply with the reporting requirement" for drunken driving arrests.
Tenured bus drivers may also be removed for a physical disability, failure to maintain his or her bus in a "safe, comfortable, and practical operating condition" or the elimination or consolidation of bus routes.
The termination hearing may be held in public or private - at Thibeaux's discretion.

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