Idaho

Blaine school district, transportation chief part ways in wake of bus crash

This school bus rolled west of Richfield on the way to a track meet. A dozen Carey students were hospitalized, the driver faces charges and the Blaine County School District has fired its transportation director.
This school bus rolled west of Richfield on the way to a track meet. A dozen Carey students were hospitalized, the driver faces charges and the Blaine County School District has fired its transportation director. Times-News

The Blaine County School District announced Wednesday night that its transportation director has resigned following an April 18 school bus crash that injured a dozen Carey students.

Rex Squires resigned after he was presented with findings from an investigation, Superintendent GwenCarol Holmes told the Times-News on Thursday. Holmes didn’t provide specifics about what the investigation revealed or Squires’ conduct.

The bus crash precipitated the investigation, she said, but it was broader and looked at the department’s overall operations.

The investigation revealed “a failure to follow internal procedures and our code of ethics in supervising drivers,” Holmes said in a statement.

Blaine County school officials are taking corrective action to ensure this doesn’t happen again, Holmes wrote in the statement, and “the transportation director at the time of the accident is no longer employed by the district.”

Assistant superintendent John Blackman is taking over day-to-day transportation operations until a new director is hired.

A collision report from Idaho State Police says bus driver Richard Mecham, 67, of Carey was asleep, drowsy or fatigued, contributing to the crash. The report lists distraction as another contributing circumstance.

Charges against Mecham are pending, the report says.

On Wednesday, KBOI-TV, Channel 2 reported that the surveillance camera inside the bus was not working at the time of the crash.

A dozen of the 39 Carey Junior High students who were on the bus were hospitalized after it rolled west of Richfield on its way to a track meet in Gooding.

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