New Jersey school van driver accused of using FaceTime while driving

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
New Jersey school van driver accused of using FaceTime while driving
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Toni Yates reports on the school van driver accused of using FaceTime while driving.

WANTAGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey woman is outraged after she says her son's school van driver was using FaceTime to video chat while driving him home last week.

The alleged incident happened in Sussex Thursday, as Michelle Urban's son was being driven home in a van contracted by D.W. Clark & Son.

She said her son recorded video of the woman holding a cell phone as she drove, even though the face of the driver could not be seen.

"I'm completely and utterly shocked that this 'woman' is brazen enough to do this fully knowing that I myself am also a CDL van driver for children," she wrote on Facebook. "Imagine if she was driving a child unable to speak or communicate?? Many children I've driven over my nearly 15-year career have been like this, helpless against the actions of an adult trusted to safely transport them. I am thoroughly disgusted. Would you want your child driven by her??

And apparently, this may not have been the first time she pulled off driving while on FaceTime.

"He had told me earlier in the year about that happening and I said well, it's your word against hers so if it happens again just turn on your phone and videotape her," said Urban.

So her son did it and took the evidence to his mom, who has been a school bus driver herself for 15 years. When the bus driver came to get her son the next day, Urban said she asked her to leave the house and drove him to school herself.

She took the evidence to the school superintendent, who responded the same day.

High Point superintendent Dr. Scott Ripley said in a statement that the driver is no longer permitted to drive for the district, but he stressed that she was not an employee of the board of education.

"Ensuring the well being and safety of our students is our most important responsibility," he wrote. "The driver is not an employee of the High Point Regional Board of Education, but is rather an employee of a company with whom we contract to transport students; we have had a positive relationship with the company which is highly reputable. I believe the vendor was utilizing a mini-van to transport the child. As soon as we were made aware of the incident, on Friday, we acted immediately to ensure that the driver was no longer permitted to drive for High Point Regional contracted routes."

Urban said she was proud of her son's actions, which could prevent unsafe incidents in the future.

"Glad my child was able to document this gross negligence by a supposed professional driver," she wrote on Facebook. "Hopefully this driver will NEVER be allowed to work with school children again."

Urban said she will drive her son to school until a replacement is found.

Eyewitness News contacted D.W. Clark & Son of Franklin, but they said someone would get back to us later.


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