ZIEGLERVILLE, Pa. — A school bus driver was driving “in an extremely reckless manner” when his bus struck a car, killing the passenger, according to the county district attorney.
The bus driver in the Feb. 17 accident, Frederick Robert Poust III, was arrested Tuesday for homicide by vehicle and numerous counts of recklessly endangering other persons.
Investigators said that Poust, transporting 45 middle school students, was attempting to turn left into a school driveway. Footage from an onboard recorder shows the bus turning into the path of an oncoming car.
Poust “operated the school bus in a negligent and recklessness manner, improperly entering the eastbound lane of traffic and causing the accident,” a statement from Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.
The passenger of the car was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the car was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. Five students on the bus sustained minor injuries.
Authorities said the video footage prior to the crash showed that Poust had run 10 stop signs. He also allegedly was fatigued after working a night shift in his security job and talked on a cell-phone headset while driving the bus (although apparently not at the time of the crash).
“He's tired, he's exhausted, he's distracted,” Ferman said. “He's listening to music. He's talking on the phone. He's ignoring stop signs and basically ignoring every safety precaution you would want a school bus driver to pay attention to.”
The district attorney noted that this was the second fatal accident that Poust has caused. In 1999 (before he was a school bus driver), Poust failed to stop at a stop sign and struck another vehicle. The crash killed a 2-year-old girl and injured her mother.
“Knowing that past history and then seeing the driving that was going on that day just outrages all of us,” Ferman said. “It is impossible to think that someone who had taken the life of a child could be so reckless on this particular day while carrying more children.”