Documents Allege Bus Driver On Phone Prior To Crash
NORMAN, Oklahoma - The Norman Public School District is under fire after new court documents allege a bus crash was caused by the driver being on his cell phone.
These court documents revolve around a lawsuit between the school, their insurance provider and the families of the students on that bus.
The rollover accident happened back in September bear Lampasas, Texas, as the students were on their way to Sea World for a field trip.
The driver of that school bus was Cleveland Elementary School Principal Ty Bell and the bus was filled with Fifth Grade girls.
Back in December, News 9 covered the district’s lawsuit to distribute insurance money, with the families involved.
In mid-January one of the family's attorneys filed a motion hoping to get information and files from the district.
The court document alleges that "The Texas Highway Patrol suspected Ty Bell was using his cell phone at the time of the crash and caused the crash." It goes on to say the district has video from the bus but they "refused to produce the video or cooperate with the investigation".
News 9 does have a copy of the crash report, but it doesn't mention a cell phone.
KWTV has been in contact with the Texas Department of Public Safety and are waiting on information.
Meanwhile the Norman Public School District Superintendent, Dr. Nick Migliorino, gave us a statement saying,
“Court filings are often one-sided and make statements that can result in inferences that are neither reliable nor well-founded. We don’t know where the attorney came up with the assertion that the driver was using his cell phone at the time of the crash. We have not heard that from the highway patrol nor anyone else who investigated this matter. In fact, the accident report itself makes no finding that a cell phone was in use. The district has not refused to produce the video. However, the video shows multiple students—not just a single student—and as such, it is subject to the court’s decision regarding the circumstances of viewing the video in order to fully protect the privacy and other rights of all of the students. The district has fully cooperated with the investigation. School officials have worked from the day of the accident to cooperate, provide information, respond to requests from all interested parties responsibly, and to balance the rights of those who request information and documents with obligations owed to all students and employees involved in the bus accident. We respect the court process and fully expect the interpleader action will sort out the competing claims for the $1 million that has been deposited with the court so that it will be available when the court makes a determination regarding the amount to be paid to each claimant.”
There was a motion to keep this video "confidential" filed by the district in January.
The lawyer representing Bell issued the following statement: