HCSO, school district investigate cause of bus accident

Investigators from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spent the day investigating what went wrong when a school bus veered off the road and overturned in a retention pond.

27 children were on board the bus when it overturned about one mile from Bryant Elementary School. All escaped uninjured.

At a Friday afternoon press conference, Superintendent Jeff Eakins said there were no red flags in the district’s initial reviews of the maintenance records for Bus #3094.

“Everything we're seeing that all the inspections were done in order, regular checks, regular inspections along the way,” Eakins said when asked whether this bus had any significant maintenance issues. “There's nothing we saw that determined anything like that but that's still being reviewed right now."

The Department of Education requires that busses are inspected every 30-days while they are in service. The district provided copies of some of those inspections going back to September 2014.

The District did not provide a copy of inspection reports for November 2014, March 2015, or the full report for May 2015. A January 2015 and June 2015 report were also missing, though the school district is not required to follow the 30-day inspection rule when school is not in session.

Late Friday, a spokeswoman for the school district said she did not know why those reports would not have been included in what was provided to the press and would contact the transportation department about the records.

The district also released personnel records for the bus driver, 54-year-old Lenoir Sainfimin. According to those records, he received one traffic ticket in 2014 and completed traffic school. He first obtained a commercial driver’s license in 2006. The Sheriff’s Office does not believe driver intoxication was a factor in the accident,

HCSO is reviewing 911 calls, witness interviews and maintenance records as part of the investigation, which the department anticipates releasing next week.