Houston ISD buses caught running red lights repeatedly

District to discipline 5 bus drivers after Channel 2 investigation

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Houston ISD said it will be disciplining five bus drivers who did not obey rules after a Channel 2 investigation showed numerous bus drivers running red traffic lights as they were on their way to pick up kids.

"That's unacceptable. That's not an excuse, that's not a reason and I'm not going to try and make one up," said Chester Glaude, HISD Transportation senior manager of operations. "There's not a reason for you to take a big bus and run a red light."

The district reviewed video from cameras mounted on the front of school buses after Channel 2 investigative reporter Jace Larson showed the district video he captured over the course of four mornings.

The video shows school buses making a left turn from Bingle Road onto the Highway 290 frontage road. There were not students on the bus at the time.

"Oh my God," Cynthia Reyes said when Channel 2 showed her the video.

Reyes' daughter is a cheerleader and rides the bus home from games.

"That makes me not want to let her ride the bus," she said.

Reyes worries drivers might do the same thing when kids are on board.

"These are your driving habits," she said.

Reyes said what the Channel 2 investigation uncovered has her thinking twice about putting her daughter on a bus next time.

"I've seen on the news plenty of times -- buses getting hit with kids on it and kids having to go to the hospital. I don't want my child to get hurt," Reyes said.

HISD launched an investigation immediately after being notified of the concern by Channel 2, the district said.

An HISD spokeswoman said the district had reviewed the footage late Wednesday.

"The footage is somewhat grainy since it's dark outside, but we were able to clearly identify five instances in which a bus was approaching a yellow light and should have stopped, but didn't. In one of those instances, the bus was clearly approaching a red light, but did not stop. The drivers in question are being appropriately reprimanded," Holly Huffman, senior manager of media relations at Houston ISD.

The district's policy says drivers get a warning after the first offense, are suspended after the second and are terminated after the third.

Huffman did not know Thursday if any of the drivers who will now be disciplined had previous discipline issues.

Glaude said no driver has ever been fired for running red lights that he can recall. Glaude has been with the district in the transportation department for more than 20 years.

If you have a tip for investigative reporter Jace Larson, email or text him at jlarson@kprc.com or 832-493-3951.

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