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Germantown CSD officials evaluating school bus accident

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    The Germantown Central School District is reviewing the procedure for reporting accidents after a video was posted on social media purportedly showing a school bus driver using a cell phone to report an accident.
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    Pulcher Transportation has a contract with Germantown Central School for transportation services.
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    The Germantown Central School District is reviewing the procedure for reporting accidents after a video was posted to social media showing a school bus driver allegedly using a cell phone to report an accident.
February 28, 2018 06:14 pm

GERMANTOWN — Germantown Central School officials are evaluating the district’s accident reporting procedures after a video posted on social media purportedly shows a bus driver using a cell phone while driving to report a crash.

The bus driver, who was not identified by the district, struck a telephone pole Jan. 18 at 7:52 a.m. after the bus skidded on ice while negotiating a corner on County Route 8, Germantown School District Superintendent Susan Brown said Monday.

“That bus slid on ice while rounding a corner and the side-view mirror did hit a telephone pole,” Brown said.

No students were injured in the accident, Brown said.

A video circulating on social media taken by a Germantown student purportedly shows the bus driver talking on a cell phone while the bus is in motion. It is unclear from the video when it was taken or if it was taken before, during or after the accident.

The driver is employed by Pulcher Transportation of Stottville, Brown said. The district did not identify the driver, citing personnel reasons.

At the request of the school district, the driver is no longer traveling Germantown routes as of the date of the incident, Brown said.

“I can’t speak to the contractor, but that person no longer drives for Germantown Central Schools,” Brown said.

Parent Melissa Mryrdycz has three sons who attend school in the district. She said she was told by the children on the bus that the driver was using a cell phone when the accident happened.

“The kids are told, ‘If you see something, you say something,’ but they [the district] don’t believe them without video proof,” Mryrdycz said. “But by then, it will be too late.”

Mrydycz is frustrated with the school’s response. She said a phone call about whether the driver was no longer traveling routes for the district was not returned until more than a week later.

“We follow up on all of them [complaints from parents],” Brown said. “Nothing is more important than keeping the children safe. We work very closely with our contractors. Any time any parent reaches out and calls us, we look into his or her concerns.”

Driving while using a cell phone is a traffic violation, and carries a fine of between $50 and $150 for a first-time offender, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicle’s website.

Pulcher did not say whether the driver is still working for the company.

Pulcher is not required to report accidents to police where damage to the bus is estimated to be less than $1,000, a representative from the company said. The representative said the company followed protocol and reported the incident to school officials.

“We feel that this is a witch hunt considering it’s a situation that happened six weeks ago,” Pulcher Transportation said in a statement Tuesday. “We have followed protocol regarding all procedures and complied with Germantown Central Schools’ request.”

The bus company declined to comment further on the incident.

The district is aware of the video of the driver and the incident is being investigated, Brown said.

“We are presently changing protocol,” Brown said. “We are always looking to improve protocol.”

Changing the protocol would require input from first responders and all bus companies that contract with the district, Brown said.

Germantown has contracts with four companies for bus services: Zanchelli Bus Lines in Germantown, Michael Johnston Company in Philmont, Coxsackie Transportation and Pulcher. The district occasionally partners with other contractors, as needed, Brown said.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.



Wed, 02/28/2018 - 09:25 pm

This comment has been deleted.
How could the driver determine If it’s $1000.00 in damage or not I wonder if he or she even got out of the bus to look at the damage
The driver is still driving for the company! The incident was not reported as soon as it happened. It wasn't until the children that were on the bus went home and told their parents. They went to school that morning and parents were not notified by the school. The driver should not have a job after this incident!! Children are the most precious cargo and it's the drivers job to keep them safe at all times.
I would like to remind all concerned parents to attend Germantown school board meeting on March 14th. I do believe, and have faith in the board that immediate actions are being taken.
We have asked them at the last board meeting, to investigate and evaluate all incidents over the last several months, and all indications are showing they are doing just that, putting your child’s safety first.
Unfortunately the driver in question from Pulchers Transportation on this incident, I believe was moved from Germantown school bus runs to the Hudson school district bus runs. I do have one comment on Pulchers statement of they feel it’s a witch hunt, as the incident took place 6 weeks ago. This incident would have been brought to the full school board earlier, if the Board did not cancel January’s school board meeting.
I would appreciate if anyone with any other issues over the last several years that felt they were ignored from Sue Sacco Brown (Germantown superintendent), over her past business relationships and friendships with Pulchers bring them to light to the entire school board, as they might be unaware of the situation.
We are still anxiously awaiting a answer on the Pulchers Transportation driver who falsely reported an incident to Sue Sacco Brown of a driver driving a bus intoxicated, in order to deflect attention from the numerous incidents of Pulchers Transportation.
Tim Drawbridge WTEN news desk and Lance Wheeler CBS 6 news