Bus Drivers Trained for Student Safety

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CRESWELL, Ore. — It was business as usual at the Creswell School District Wednesday, after Tuesday afternoon’s scary situation on I-5, during which an armed, pantsless man rammed into a bus and tried to get onboard once the bus came to a stop.

The school district says the female bus driver would not let the man onto the bus, which is something she learned through hours of training to become a driver.

“The training that  they receive is that nobody is to get on their bus, nobody is allowed on the bus. Parents generally are not allowed on the bus,” said Chris Ellilson, Transportation Supervisor with the Creswell School District.

“We’re required to have eight hours of continuing education for every driver. We do some of that here in the district, and we participate in Oregon Pupil Transportation Association trainings and workshops,” said Theresa Bichsel, another Transportation Supervisor.

The Oregon Pupil Transportation Association–or OPTA–puts on bus training for districts throughout the state each year.

While Tuesday’s situation can only be described as rare, it’s something transportation managers say every driver in the state is trained to respond to in order to keep the kids onboard safe.

“Bus drivers handle a lot of situations out on the road. We have to trust them and trust their training, that they are putting the children first and that’s what they are, student safety–bus safety–is our number one priority at all times,” said Bichsel.

While the state requires every bus driver attend eight hours of training each year, OPTA says many districts average between 20 and 25 hours of annual training.

Oregon State Police say the man responsible for Tuesday’s incident, 38-year-old Jonathan Modesitt, was armed and driving under the influence when he rammed into the bus, then took his pants off and tried to get onboard.

He is in the Lane County Jail, facing a number of charges, including hit-and-run, DUII, and recklessly endangering another person.

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