Fayetteville Bus Driver Fined $100 For Involvement In Georgia Crash
Posted March 20, 2002 7:15 a.m. EST
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Darol Britt, the bus driver involved in an accident that endangered dozens of Fayetteville high school students on a field trip last April, was fined $100 Tuesday for operating a vehicle with unsafe brakes.
Cumberland County prosecutors said since the crash was in Georgia, there was very little they could hold Britt responsible for in North Carolina. Nearly a year after the crash involving the Massey Hill Classical students, Britt's misdemeanor case ended.
Dozens of students were hurt when Britt lost control of his bus and crashed near the Georgia-Florida state line. Britt was charged with willfully operating a vehicle with unsafe brakes in North Carolina.
In court Tuesday, Britt told a judge he should not be responsible for driving his bus with bad brakes. The judge disagreed and fined him $100 for the infraction.
The manager of Al's Truck Service, who is a certified inspector, testified Britt took his bus in for brake repairs two days before taking the students on their trip. After looking at the bus, the manager determined it would have failed a formal inspection because the brakes were in such bad shape.
When Britt was told it would cost $2,500 to fix the brakes, he said he would have to put the repairs off.
"It made me feel real bad that somebody would go out there and put lives on the line because he couldn't gather up the money. He should not have driven the bus at all," said student Bryan Evans, who was injured in the crash.
A Department of Motor Vehicle safety officer with the state of Georgia also testified in court Tuesday. He inspected the bus after the crash and confirmed the brakes were not in good working order. One of them was not working at all, he said.
Parents are praising the state for doing what they could.
"They punished him as much as they could. Of course, I would rather him have spend time in jail, as much time as these kids spent in physical therapy and the hospital, but that's not the way it worked out. We got something, and we are happy with that," said Joyce Evans, Bryan's mother.
Some parents said they hope felony charges in Georgia will bring much stiffer penalties. Britt is charged with seven felonies there. A court date has not yet been set.