Metro East bus driver fired for crashing into parked cars fighting to get job back; explains student distracted him while driving

Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 5:36 AM CDT
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GRANITE CITY, IL. (KMOV) - A Metro East bus driver wants his job back after being fired for crashing into four parked cars while enroute with children onboard. He tells News 4 it was an accident, and was distracted by a misbehaving student.

“I got a kid that’s standing right beside me and he already got my attention. I already clipped one car. It happened so fast. If I slam on the breaks kids are going to fly. He’s going to go through the windshield,” says driver, Roger Tolson.

First Student confirms the company decided to terminate Tolson because of the incident.

“I know it’s an inconvenience and I’m really sorry for that but it was out of my hands once I hit the first car,” Tolson says. “The first thing I did was stop the bus and ask is everybody okay. Everybody was okay.”

A company spokesperson released a statement Friday saying, “our review concluded the driver did not follow safety protocols.”

However, Tolson says he was let go after a News 4 report.

“They all wanted me back. They had already told me I would be back the next week and start retraining,” he says.

Tolson adds he took over the route for another driver who asked to be reassigned because of the rowdiness of the student passengers.

“They’ve thrown things at me before. It’s a challenge. It takes a special person to keep on doing it.”

Just a week before crash, Tolson received a 4.5-star driver rating.

According to the ex-bus driver it’s proof that he’s qualified to return to work.

“I want my job back. I want my same route back.”

Tolson has since involved the job’s union and has filed a grievance.