MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A Montgomery Public Schools parent voiced concerns about the safety of his children on an MPS bus on at least three occasions, including a meeting with a school administrator.
When he didn't get a response, Wallace Mills turned to the 12 News Defenders.
"I didn't know who else to call," Mills stated.
Mills' children commented multiple times about their bus driver texting and running off the road while driving their route home from school. Mills, skeptical of the allegations, asked them for proof, and they delivered.
"I was surprised because it was evident from the video he was driving down Troy Highway," explained Mills.
The video obtained by students inside bus 18-22 show the driver swiping through his cell phone. A closer look shows he's driving past a gas station on Troy Highway during one of the most high-traffic times of day.
Mills' concerns escalated weeks later.
"This bus driver wouldn't allow my child on the bus leaving school one afternoon, and he left my child on the curb without notifying any administrators, any parents," he explained. "My child called me on a borrowed cell phone."
Mills picked up his child from Floyd Middle Magnet and met with an administrator that day. He was told to lodge a complaint with the transportation division, which he did, twice, and still hasn't received a call back.
"I am concerned about the safety of my children, I can't get anyone at the MPS transportation department to contact me," Mills said. "I told this person on my voice message about the texting and driving and my child had been left on the curb, I felt those were serious issues and can't get anyone to talk about it."
WSFA 12 News launched its own investigation and observed bus 18-22 from Floyd Middle Magnet to Carr Middle for multiple days.
Our cameras captured the driver running a red light at Narrow Lane Road and Glen Grattan Drive, and the bus didn't attempt to stop when turning right at a red light at Park Crossing and Ray Thorington Road. On two occasions the bus cut behind a gas station at the busy intersection of Troy Highway and Taylor Road instead of using the turn lane, and every day we monitored the bus it was seen swerving multiple times. At one point it even ventured to the center turn lane of Park Crossing Drive for a stretch of the roadway.
"I don't want this bus driver driving my child, and he probably shouldn't be driving anyone else's either unless some kind of remediation can be made," Mills explained.
WSFA requested a meeting with MPS to review our findings and video, but the offer was declined after we refused to turn over the video to the district.
Following our request for a meeting and interview, Mills says his children were called to the office with other bus riders to request to see the video from inside the bus.
After learning about the request, Mills went to Floyd Middle Magnet and attempted to meet with the principal twice. To date his attempts to meet have been unsuccessful.
The day after our request, MPS issued this statement:
"Montgomery Public Schools take pride in the safety record of our transportation department. Drivers are trained to follow traffic laws and take their responsibility of the welfare of the students in their buses above all else. MPS was informed of the texting incident shortly after it occurred. We addressed the issue and have monitored on-bus video and it has not happened again. We are investigating the second reported event. We will continue to reinforce to our drivers their responsibilities while operating our school buses."
The riders say the bus driver was still on the route until Monday. MPS says it can't legally release the discipline status of an employee but reinforced the issue had been addressed.
To date, Mills still has not received a returned call.