TAMPA (FOX 13) - The Hillsborough School Board blames bus driver Lenior Sainfimin for a crash last year that landed his bus, loaded with students, in a pond. But Sainfimin blames brake failure on an aging bus.
Sainfimin lost his job and is now fighting a reckless driving citation. His attorney, Ralph Fernandez has taken the school district and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to task over the investigation.
He claims surveillance video from inside the bus was altered or tampered with. Fernandez says the video conveniently cuts off moments before the crash.
District officials say portions of the video had water damage
At hearing Friday, two mechanics, who inspected the bus after the crash, concluded there was no mechanical error. Fernandez immediately cried foul.
"This is continuing ambush over a case that shouldn't be in the secondary phase here," said Fernandez.
Fernandez fought to keep them off the stand, and said he believes the other side is hiding the ball.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge Herbert Berkowitz challenged Fernandez, who then fired back.
Judge Berkowitz: You asked for reports. He said he doesn't have any?
Fernandez: You think I believe that?
Judge Berkowitz: It doesn't matter to the court what you believe or don't believe.
Fernandez: Well it should matter because something can be classified as a report, and likewise, the opposite.
After the back-and-forth, Judge Berkowitz appeared frustrated about another delay over a traffic citation.
"Which makes no sense to me. We could have handled this in another format," said Judge Berkowitz.