The California school bus driver who was convicted of running over and killing 15-year-old Brian Burdett last year has been sentenced to two years in prison. The verdict angered Brian’s parents, James and Terry, who contend that the driver, Irene Haley, should have received the maximum six-year penalty. (See “Q&A” beginning on page 5 for an interview with James Burdett).
Haley pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter in the fatal accident, which took place Feb. 7, 2001, in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Brian bent down for an unknown reason after getting off the bus and was run over as the bus was pulling away.
Haley was terminated by Laidlaw Education Services following the incident. In addition to the prison sentence, she was ordered to pay $7,000 restitution to Laidlaw and an unspecified amount to the Burdett family
In a short statement to the family during the sentencing hearing, Haley said, “I want you guys to know how sorry I am. If I could trade places with Brian, I would.”
“I know the Lord wants me to forgive her, but in my heart I’m having a hard time with it,” Terry told the Desert Trail.