PATASKALA, Ohio — It was a close competition, but Lori Robertson came out with a narrow lead to win this year's Ohio School Bus Driver Safety Road-E-O.
It was the first state title for Robertson, a Petermann driver for Lakota Local Schools. She and a few other top finishers from the May 17 event qualified to advance to the 2014 School Bus Driver International Safety Competition, which will be held in Charleston, S.C., on July 19 and 20.
On a day of cold temperatures, overcast skies and moderate wind, 48 school bus drivers from around Ohio assembled at Licking Heights High School in Pataskala for the annual state competition. The drivers had advanced to the state level by placing in the top six in one of eight regional contests.
The competition tests bus drivers' behind-the-wheel skills in such areas as maneuvering through tight spaces, student loading and unloading, railroad crossing procedures and backing. There is also a 100-question written test on CDL rules and school bus pre-trip inspection.
In this year's event, Robertson scored 698 out of 725 possible points to be crowned state champion. She came out one point ahead of Lois Humberger of Genoa Area Local Schools, who took second place.
Here are the top 10 finishers from the Ohio contest, including the type of school bus they drove:
1. Lori Robertson, Lakota/Petermann, transit (Type D)
2. Lois Humberger, Genoa Area Local Schools, conventional (Type C)
3. Linda Schmidt, Archbold Area Schools, transit
4. Deborah Hill, Findlay City Schools, transit
5. Lori Stulz, Loveland City Schools, conventional
6. Steve Rucker, South-Western City Schools, conventional
7. Lori Fanger, Stow-Munroe Falls City School, transit
8. Melanie Bates, Noble Local Schools, conventional
9. Kathleen Smith, Akron Public Schools, transit
10. Pamela Hrouda, South Euclid-Lyndhurst School District, conventional