School bus driver in Harford taken off route after incidents

May 05, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Harford County school officials said yesterday that a bus driver employed by a Forest Hill transportation contractor would no longer drive for the school system after two traffic incidents in the past week on his route.

The driver, Russell L. Wagner, 77, of the 300 block of Willrich Circle in Forest Hill, was cleared by two doctors last week to drive for J.P.T. Transportation after recent heart bypass surgery, said schools spokesman Donald R. Morrison.

But he was removed from his route April 29 by the contractor for erratic driving and then was involved in an early-morning accident Monday while transporting 27 students to Fallston Middle School, Morrison said.

Morrison said Wagner had passed a re-evaluation after the April 29 incident and was again cleared by two doctors. He drove without incident April 30.

Morrison said that Wagner had been a driver in "excellent" standing for 10 years but that he was still experiencing health problems.

"We can't take a chance that he may be impaired because of his medication or condition," Morrison said. "It's a sad thing. He's been a very good driver, very much supported" by parents and students.

According to the Harford County Sheriff's Office report on Monday's incident, Wagner was driving south in the 700 block of Old Joppa Road about 7:30 a.m. when the right front tire of the bus grazed loose gravel and pavement, causing Wagner to lose control of the vehicle. As he tried to regain control of the bus, the report said, it struck a telephone pole.

Three students were evaluated by Fallston Volunteer Fire Company responders at the scene and cleared, Morrison said. The students were taken to school on another bus, he said.

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