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Accused driver fired by system

Madison Mathews • Oct 4, 2012 at 10:23 PM

The driver of a Washington County school bus that crashed last month, injuring 27 students on board has been fired, according to Director of Schools Ron Dykes.

Brenda K. Gray, 54, of Jonesborough, was terminated following a number of charges brought against her Wednesday. She had been on unpaid leave since the crash.

“The (Tennessee) Highway Patrol investigation indicated speeding, reckless driving and those things alone would constitute termination,” Dykes said.

Gray was jailed Wednesday on eight counts of reckless aggravated assault, 31 counts of felony reckless endangerment, speeding, reckless driving and failure to exercise due care.

The 39 total charges of reckless aggravated assault and felony reckless endangerment equal one charge for each of the 39 students on the bus.

While it’s rare for a bus driver to be terminated, Dykes said the system has fired drivers in the past for various issues, including inappropriate behavior and unprofessional conduct.

Dykes said the safety record of the school system’s bus drivers and overall bus safety is very high.

A bus crash on the scale of the one that occurred last month is rare, Dykes said.

“We have an extremely safe record. ... The overwhelming majority (of bus drivers) simply do obey policy, laws and regulations. I’m very proud of our drivers in general,” he said.

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