Oakley school bus has close call with train

There is disagreement of an apparent close call between a school bus and a train in the East Bay town of Oakley.

On Thursday afternoon, Juanita Fussell got a scary text from her grandson LaMorris.  She read it out loud. "’Grandmommy, can you pick up at the school? We're going to die.’  And I said, ‘why?’  ‘We were going to die.’  I said, ‘Why? Did the bus come?’"

Her grandson said the bus driver drove into the way of the train and “broke the thing that stops us."

Later, the children's' stories held consistent. "When they got home, they had a horrible a story to tell that the bus stopped and the railroad tracks and barreled through the arms on the track and just sat there. Several car drivers had to stop and tell the bus driver to move the bus," says Lea Fussell, Juanita's daughter and mother of two children who were on the bus. 

She's miffed. "Nobody contacted us at all, says Fussell, who adds that when she called Steve, the school's transportation department manager, he would provide no details on the incident except this: "Steve told me today that the bus driver will no longer be driving the bus," says Ms. Fussell.

Lea's sister Kelly says her son was also on the bus, but knew nothing of the incident for hours.  "I got it from a third party. I got it from my sister because, like she said, she had to call them to find any information because they weren't reaching out to anybody. They didn't contact anybody about the situation," says Kelly Fussell.

Greg Hetrick, the District Superintendent of Schools says Steve of the transportation department told him the camera on the bus shows different chain of events. "From the cameras, it's fixed.  You can see the door open as the bus stops, the door opens. The driver stops, looks, listens, the door closes, the bus starts to go, and the arm is coming down.  It strikes the bus. The bus stops, backs up.  The train does what it does and then drives through; completes the route, says Superintendent Hetrick.

The good news from this is we will get to the bottom of it.  Any incident involving a school bus is automatically investigated by the California Highway Patrol.  The video recording can only speed up the truth and assess the blame if there is any blame to assess.