Bus Swept Away in Flood Water

Nathan DeYoung of Leander, Texas made a disastrous decision this week to drive around a barrier and disobey warning signs after flooding struck the area. The daschcam video is harrowing!

Ashley Ringstaff, the mother of the middle school student riding the bus, posted on Facebook about the experience.

DeYoung began his employment with Leander Independent School District in August this year. Not long after driving around the barriers, the bus driven by DeYoung became stranded in flood waters.

The student on the bus was treated at the scene and went home, in this case. DeYoung was not so lucky; he was arrested and charged with “failing to obey warning signs/barricades over road” and “endangering a child.” His district terminated his employment immediately. 

Most, if not all, districts have warnings for school bus drivers. Drivers are instructed never to drive through water, especially moving water. There is no way to discern how deep the water is, nor how strong the current is. The water may also hide debris, damage to the road, and other hazards.

Leander police agreed, advising their local citizens, “Just two feet of water can carry away most vehicles.” They advise motorists to turn around instead of risking drowning by fording into unknown waters. They are using the video in an effort “to illustrate the dangers of attempting to drive across a low-water crossing during flood conditions.”

DeYoung is not the only driver this year to engage in this risky behavior. In Sparks, MD, on July 24, 2018, another driver opted to ignore warning signs and attempt to reach a student’s home. That bus was also left stranded, though the driver did not face the same consequences as DeYoung.

After an initial reaction of “how crazy is this!?!” we need to consider why drivers opt to make decisions like this.

In many areas, school buses are exempt from signage other motorists are required to obey. A prime example is weight restrictions on roads. Have we taught our drivers an attitude of “I’m in a school bus; I’m special.”

Or is it the case that some drivers just don’t realize the potential danger? If that’s the case, how do we keep them from being a danger to our students and other motorists?

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