Hillsborough Co. bus crash brings safety concerns

When you're representing a fired school bus driver involved in a crash with 27 kids on board, other incidents involving school busses become an instant matter of interest.

So when a Hillsborough County school bus crashed Wednesday in Riverview, attorney Chrissie Edwards immediately thought of her client.

Edwards represents Lenoir Sainfimin.

"The bus safety issue is a problem," Edwards said.

Back in September, Sainfimin lost control of the school bus he was driving and plunged into a pond with a bus full of kids.

"Confronted with that emergency, was the best decision he could have made. He moved that bus into that pond and all the children - all 27 children - went home that day to their parents, " said Edwards.

Sainfimin blames brake failure.

But investigators blame him, for mistakenly hitting the gas instead of the breaks.

An independent investigation determined the bus did not have mechanical issues.

School officials released an edited version of the video from the school bus cameras. They say the video was damaged by water and they released all the video they could salvage. 

Edwards says she doesn't believe the school's story and is fighting to have the entire video released. 

The video, according to Edwards, cuts off at the moment of the crash. 

In Wednesday's bus crash, police say the  driver failed to yield the right-of-way and collided with another car. But Edwards says she will launch her own investigation.

She wants to know everything she can about the bus and its history.

"We have seen missed inspections, employees quitting, that make it seem like there is a little bit of smoke, which means there may be a little bit of fire," Edwards said.

According to the Florida Department of Education, Hillsborough County has one of the oldest school bus fleets in the state. In the past, drivers and mechanics have raised concerns about safety.

The school board agreed in 2015, to purchase hundreds of new busses in the coming year.

Six arrived January 14, but there are many more to be replaced.  

"If we don't address what is going on with the buses, this is going to continue to happen. So what is it going to take?," Edwards asked.