Plainwell bus driver fired for crossing in front of train

Plainwell, school bus, train tracks
Herb Theodore captured photos of a Plainwell school bus driving across some train tracks even though the warning lights were flashing. (Jan. 11, 2018)

PLAINWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — A longtime bus driver for Plainwell Community Schools is off the job, days after pictures surfaced of his bus, loaded with students, crossing in front of an oncoming train.

Plainwell Superintendent Matt Montange tells 24 Hour News 8 the district fired the unnamed driver Wednesday.

Train enthusiast Herb Theodore said he stopped to capture photos of an oncoming train on Thursday, Jan. 11 when he witnessed the bus driver stop, open his door, look both ways with his “flashers” engaged, then take off across the tracks.

Theodore said seconds later, the train’s triangular headlights came into view.

State law prohibits any vehicle from crossing train tracks while warning signals are activated, unless a police officer is there to allow them to cross.

Theodore contacted the district and posted photos of the bus crossing on his Facebook page. A day after the incident, the district told 24 Hour News 8 it had placed the driver on administrative leave and sent a letter to parents explaining the situation.