Police to monitor Jefferson City bus driver after safety, speed concerns

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JEFFERSON CITY - An investigation into a First Student bus concern has lead to an increased police presence in one Jefferson City area.

Candra Powell created a post in a Facebook group telling parents to "take action" against First Student bus 70. Powell said she started noticed the driver speeding down Gateway Drive, her street, in the beginning of October.

In the past few months, she said she has witnessed the driver speeding, rolling stop signs, not using a turn signal and driving "recklessly." Because of what she saw, she decided to follow the bus and record it. She said she got him speeding, not using a turn signal and rolling stop signs on video.

"They are the most important person in the world with your kids in there," Powell said. "Safety needs to be the number one concern."

Powell is a former bus driver, and she said over her career, she spent four years at First Student. She claimed she no longer works there because of a conflict with her other job. 

Powell said she has told First Student her concerns multiple times, but the incidents keep happening. She also called Cole County Sheriff Department to look at the alleged issue.

First Student did hear her complaints, and location manager Brandon Swyers said it partnered with Missouri State Highway Patrol to fully investigate the complaint.

Swyers said First Student uses a program called Zonar to track its buses. Swyers said he gets notified when buses go 10 mph over the speed limit for a specific period of time, but he hasn't been notified of this for bus 70. 

Swyers said the investigation did not find any specific incidents of the mistakes Powell saw, and the driver is still employed. However, he said Zonar's GPS tracking "does its best," but when it doesn't know which date and times to look at, it can't be exact. 

"If I had a date and time of these specific incidents the woman saw, I could better pull and review from the system to see if something happened," Swyers said. "It's hard to pinpoint something when I don't know where to look."

Swyers said First Student wants feedback from the community to be able to handle these issues. He said he wants Powell to share her videos' dates and times with them so he can look further into the complaint. 

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