Trainer speaks out about school bus crash

- One of trainers of the Hillsbrough County school bus driver who crashed a bus full of children into a pond told the School Board Tuesday the driver never should have been behind the wheel.

Corie Holmes, who trained Lenoir Sainfimin for at least two days, made his concerns public, telling board members he is "truly...concerned about the safety of students."

The issue was not supposed to come up during the Hillsborough school board meeting, in which board members agreed to purchase 200 new buses.

After making his comments, Holmes explained to reporters he gave Sainfimin "two's" during training, which he said are low grades.

"He had problems on the ninth day, or the eighth day too," Holmes said. "When they're that consistent of not being consistent, there's a problem. You should not be getting two's when you already have experience."

Investigators determined Sainfimin was driving too fast when the bus he was driving veered off a road, plowed through a neighborhood guard gate, and landed in a pond. Everyone made it out safely, but Sainfimin was ticketed for careless driving and fired.

Holmes believes the accident was preventable.

"He should have been remediated and he should not have been released," he said.

The District has said the driver eventually met all the necessary requirements and supervisors felt comfortable allowing him to drive buses.

Jim Beekman, General Manager of the district's transportation department, said this is the first he's heard of Holmes' concerns.

"We take every piece that's brought to us, no matter who, if it's from a parent, if it's from an employee, we have to take them serious," Beekman said, adding parents should feel safe putting their children on buses. "Drivers are trained today more than they have every been in the history of school bus driving."

Some parents, including a mother of a child who was on the bus that crashed, said she still has concerns.

"We need good drivers, which is something that we have already been talking to the board about," said Erika Linares. "Hopefully it doesn't happen again. Thank God that everything is fine with the kids."

Holmes' current employment status, meanwhile, is unclear. The district told FOX 13 he resigned last week but Holmes said he has not resigned and is "on leave" and plans to return next week.

The driver involved in the crash has not spoken publicly.

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